No Respite As Wintry Storms Spread Over Nation

By: AP
By: AP

Students went home for a snow day, stranded travelers waited at airports and drivers slid across icy roads in the second day of a bitter cold wave that blanketed much of the nation Tuesday.

There was little relief in sight. Temperatures were forecast to drop below zero Wednesday in at least 12 states in the Midwest and West. A band of snow and sleet fell Tuesday from Minnesota to New Hampshire.

Dozens of schools closed in Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee, and some school districts in Illinois sent students home early Tuesday. Up to a half-foot of snow had fallen in parts of Kentucky.

"It's pretty treacherous," said Jodi Shacklette, a Kentucky State Police dispatcher in Elizabethtown. "We're working wrecks just left and right."

More than 300 flights were canceled at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and about 50 were canceled at Midway Airport, said Department of Aviation spokesman Gregg Cunningham.

Police in northern Texas had to close some highway overpasses because they were so slippery with ice. In parts of Oklahoma, snow froze overnight and left a glaze of ice on roads, said John Pike, a weather service meteorologist.

Ski resorts near Flagstaff, Ariz., reported 8 to 12 inches of snow Tuesday and strong rain showers covered residents in Phoenix. Flash flood watches were issued for central Arizona through Wednesday night.

In Washington state, as much as 8 inches of snow was expected north of Seattle to the Canadian border and up to 2 feet of new snow was forecast in the Cascades.

Some of the sharpest cold Tuesday was in northern Minnesota, where Hibbing bottomed out at 32 below zero and International Falls dropped to 28 below. In the middle of the state, St. Cloud fell to 24 below, breaking its old record of 21 below set in 1963.

The weather service posted winter storm warnings Tuesday for parts of the Southwest - where New Mexico had numerous school closings, including those in Albuquerque - and the Ohio Valley.

In Oklahoma where daytime temperatures were mostly in the teens and lower 20s Tuesday, David McElyea complained that the cold made his construction work harder at an unheated home in Oklahoma City.

"All the materials I carry around in my van - buckets of water and drywall - are frozen right now," McElyea said.

Winter weather advisories were in effect across the Midwest and from Texas to New England, where utilities were still repairing power lines snapped by last week's devastating ice storm.

New Hampshire utilities reported roughly about 106,000 homes and businesses still without power Tuesday, down from a peak of 430,000. Central Maine Power said fewer than 7,850 customers were still in the dark and a spokesman said it expected to have power restored Wednesday. About 70,000 customers are still waiting for service in Massachusetts, state officials said.

New Hampshire residents were warned Tuesday that some of them might have to wait until next week for electricity.

"It's fair to say there may be some pockets of customers that would be (without power) beyond the weekend," said Tom Goetz, chairman of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission. In places, he said, utility workers must still wait for other crews to clear fallen limbs and other debris before they can reach outages.

Even Southern California was warned of temperatures falling into the mid-30s by late Wednesday.

The cold wave and storms that accompanied had been blamed for at least 20 deaths, including 11 in traffic accidents.

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