By Matt Pearce
9:34 PM PST, December 8, 2013
A series of snowy and icy storms swept through the southern and northeastern United States over the weekend, leaving at least six people dead and causing the cancellation of more than 2,500 flights Sunday — including more than 1,000 at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
Parts of north Texas received as much as 4 inches of sleet and ice, creating a treacherous situation for travelers. Wintry weather was expected to keep causing problems in the Northeast into Monday morning, meteorologists said.
At least three storm-related deaths were reported in the Dallas area Saturday and Sunday, and two others in Wisconsin. Dallas schools were expected to close Monday as freezing conditions continued.
A multiple-vehicle pileup near Racine, Wis., sent state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, a possible Democratic candidate for governor, to the hospital, according a post on her Facebook page.
A pileup also was reported on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. A driver who had gotten out of his car after a minor accident was struck and killed, which triggered other accidents involving dozens of vehicles, a turnpike spokesman said.
Americans lucky enough to stay home during the severe weather could watch it on television. NFL games continued even as heavy snow obscured the field in some cities. Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., were hit especially hard. Groundskeepers dusted off strips of the field every 10 yards so players and officials could gauge their positions.
The games made for messy play and memorable images, with snow comically packed into face masks after some tackles and ball carriers skidding over barely visible field markers.
The slick conditions led to injuries. Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush hurt himself on the field before the game in Philadelphia, and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson hurt his ankle under slippery conditions in Baltimore. Peterson took to Twitter after the game to complain that he had also been hit in the face with an ice ball thrown by a fan from the stadium's upper deck.
The National Weather Service said parts of the Northeast had received at least 8 inches of snow.
"It's going to be hazardous traveling tonight, and we're looking at more rain on the way, and it could freeze on contact," said Kevin Witt, a National Weather Service meteorologist for the Baltimore and Washington area.
Witt said that rather than a single storm sweeping up the East Coast, a series of smaller disturbances have been bringing waves of weather, especially as moisture combines with freezing temperatures.
"We have not been above freezing for quite some time, so freezing rain is a definite threat for us even as the snow starts to move away," Witt said, adding, "We're already getting some reports of rain and freezing rain mixing in."
Almost 400 flights were canceled going in and out of Washington-area airports Sunday, with more than 400 others reported canceled at Philadelphia International Airport and more than 200 in Chicago as of Sunday evening, according to the flight-tracking service FlightAware. Dallas-Fort Worth's inbound and outbound cancellations exceeded 1,000, FlightAware said.
Philadelphia meteorologists reported that some areas had received as much as 3 inches of snow an hour.
Philadelphia International Airport had a temporary ground stop Sunday as snow totals reached 4 to 6 inches. Spokeswoman Stacey Jackson said several passengers were expected to stay in the airport overnight because hotels had been full for days. She said staff would hand out pillows and blankets to make travelers "feel at home even though they are not."
Virginia, parts of West Virginia and the metropolitan Washington area braced for blackouts under steady freezing rain, wet snow and sleet.
"While the heavy snow has eased, the winter storm is not done impacting the Northeast," Accuweather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. "Travel will remain treacherous from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia as the snow continues to transition to an icy mix through Sunday evening."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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