Bitter cold, ice slam U.S. East Coast; South still freezing
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.
The brutal storm pummeled the East with snow, sleet and freezing rain from Baltimore to north of Portland, Maine, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
At the same time, temperatures were expected at between 10 and almost 30 degrees Fahrenheit below average from the Great Lakes and Lower Mississippi Valley to the Rockies, the NWS said Monday.
Temperatures in Jordan, Montana, fell to a record low of 42 degrees Fahrenheit below zero (minus 41 degrees Celsius) on Saturday, the lowest U.S. temperature recorded during the storm.
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.
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 2,500 flights were canceled nationwide on Sunday, according to tracking website Flightaware.com. Airports in Newark, New Jersey, New York City, and Philadelphia, among others, reported delays.
Three to five inches (7.6 cm to 12.7 cm) of snow were forecast from Washington, D.C. into Philadelphia overnight into Tuesday, and 1 to 3 inches of snow were expected for New York by Tuesday morning, forecasters said.
Officials said federal offices in Washington would have 2-hour delayed openings due to the harsh weather and gave workers the option of working from home.
About 650 travelers were stranded overnight in the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport overnight Sunday, officials said, an improvement from more than 2,000 that slept on cots and chairs Saturday night and 4,000 people 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.
North Texas shivered Monday morning under below-freezing temperatures after an ice storm knocked out power lines. Some 267,000 customers were without power at the height of the storm, according to utility Oncor.
The storm battered Arkansas and Tennessee with ice, snow and zero-degree temperatures, leaving streets a slick and slushy danger zone. At least three people were killed when their cars skidded off roads, authorities said.
The Arctic chill from the storm was widespread, with Western states, including Nevada, Washington and California, slammed with snow, sleet and record-setting cold, according to the National Weather Service.
(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Additional reporting by Timothy Ghianni and Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)