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Record cold, ice grip U.S.; snow heads East

Source: Reuters - Mon, 9 Dec 2013 04:02 PM
Author: Reuters
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(Adds details on flight delays, storm impacts, quotes)

By Carey Gillam

Dec 9 (Reuters) - A massive winter storm that drove parts of the southern United States into a deep freeze over the weekend kept a tight grip on the region on Monday, while bitter temperatures, snow and ice spread through the East Coast.

Northern Maryland received 7 to 10 inches of snow over the weekend, while central and eastern Pennsylvania got 4 to 10 inches, and parts of New York received up to 10 inches through Monday morning, according to the weather service.

Up to 5 inches of snow was forecast for Monday night into Tuesday for an area stretching from Virginia into New York after a combination of snow, sleet and freezing rain pummeled the region over the weekend, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Frigid temperatures were expected to persist. "I don't think things are going to warm up anytime soon," said Bruce Sullivan, National Weather Service meteorologist.

The Arctic effect was widespread, with Western states, including Nevada, Washington and California, also getting a bite of the bitter conditions.

The temperature in Jordan, Montana, fell to 42 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (minus 41 degrees Celsius) on Saturday, the lowest U.S. temperature recorded during the storm. Among other lows, Burns, Oregon, in the northern part of the state, hit minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, said Sullivan.

The storm system over the weekend coated roads and highways from Virginia through southeastern Pennsylvania with snow and ice, making travel treacherous.

On a stretch of highway near Philadelphia, more than 50 cars and trucks were caught in a series of chain-reaction crashes on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Sunday afternoon. One man was killed when he left his vehicle after the crashes, officials said.

At least three people were killed in weather-related car accidents in Arkansas and Tennessee as well, authorities said.

COLD PERSISTS IN SOUTH, CENTRAL U.S

Frigid temperatures persisted in the nation's midsection on Monday morning, and travel was snarled in airports and along roadways due to icy conditions.

More than 1,500 flights were canceled nationwide on Monday, according to tracking website Flightaware.com, with "excessive delays" reported at Boston's Logan International Airport, Chicago's O'Hare International, and Philadelphia International airport, among others.

About 650 travelers were stranded overnight in the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport overnight Sunday, officials said. Still, that was an improvement from the more than 2,000 people who were forced to sleep on cots and chairs Saturday night and 4,000 people stranded in the airport on Friday night.

Dallas/Fort Worth airport had four runways fully operational early Monday, allowing some 500 flights to be scheduled for departure. About 350 flights remained canceled in Monday, airport officials said.

Some 267,000 customers in Texas lost power at the height of the storm, according to utility Oncor. About 21,000 homes and businesses remained without power statewide on Monday, Oncor said.

Most Dallas-area schools were closed Monday.

Temperatures pushed just above freezing on Sunday, causing large sheets of ice to slide from the roof of an apartment complex in Plano, a suburb north of Dallas, and damage cars, according to the complex's property manager. No injuries were reported. (Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Additional reporting by Timothy Ghianni and Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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