Last week's ``Blizzard of 1996'' brought the plastics industry - and most commerce - to a stop in the mid-Atlantic, Northeastern and Midwestern states. New York, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia and other eastern cities got hit hardest. Atlanta had several inches of snow. On Jan. 8, Union Carbide Corp. in Danbury, Conn., was closed. In Pittsburgh, which got hammered, Bayer Corp. was closed.
More snow has been predicted for Jan. 11-12.
In New Jersey, people were strongly urged to stay home until roads could be cleared.
``Monday was a state of emergency in New Jersey,'' said Gregg Proscia, vice president of sales at Silver Line Building Products Corp., a vinyl window extruder and fabricator in North Brunswick, N.J.
Silver Line was closed Jan. 8, then open the rest of the week. On Jan. 9, about three-fourths of the company's employees made it to work.
Silver Line receives resin by rail, and Proscia said the company has plenty of raw material.
``We've got five rail cars inside the building and we pump that directly into the silo,'' he said.
Most of Pennsylvania got buried - although the usually snowbound region from Erie, Pa., to Buffalo, N.Y., had only a few additional inches.
``We didn't get much snow at all,'' said Richard Progelhof, director of Penn State Erie's School of Engineering and Engineering Technology.
Farther east, near Allentown, Pa., authorities ordered everybody off the highways except emergency vehicles. Poly Plastic Products Inc., a sheet extruder and bag maker in Delano, Pa., was closed from midafternoon Jan. 7 until the morning of Jan. 9.
``It's been a total loss of pro-duction on these days,'' said Steve Redlich, president.
Cincinnati Milacron Inc. never closed, despite 14 inches of snow, possibly the largest single snowfall in Cincinnati history.
``We've been able to maintain our three shifts,'' said Tom Jarrold, spokesman for Milacron's Plastics Machinery Group in Batavia, Ohio.
On Jan. 8, about 30-40 percent of the firm's employees stayed home, Jarrold said.
Workers who did make it in found an 8-foot drift blocking the employee entrance.
The nation's capital was closed, thanks to the most severe winter weather in nearly 20 years. Snow closed businesses, governments, and the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. from Jan. 8-10. SPI reopened Jan. 11.
Although residents of Washington had problems getting around, out-of-towners were able to fly in before the storm for the annual conference of the Transportation Research Board's composites committee.
Conference sponsor and committee chairman Craig A. Ballinger said 25 committee members from across America - and even Switzerland - exchanged ideas in a downtown Washington meeting room Jan. 7 - at the peak of the storm.
``We had a quarter of what we were expecting, and most of these people had flown in on Saturday to take advantage of the weekend airfares. Nobody made it to our meeting from the metropolitan Washington area,'' Ballinger said.
Washington-area airports remained closed through Jan. 9.
Snow forced cancellation of some plastics industry events, including the annual Council on Packaging in the Environment breakfast, which had been set for Jan. 10 at the Washington headquarters of the National Soft Drink Association. A rescheduled date was not known.
The Society of Plastics Engineers' headquarters in Brook-field, Conn., was closed Jan. 8. The area got nearly two feet of snow. By midweek, most SPE employees were back to work.
Plastics News staff reporters Bill Bregar, Roger King, Bruce Vernyi and Lisa Sarkis Neaville contributed to this story.