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World & Nation

Major storm puts much of the U.S. on ice

Major storm puts much of the U.S. on ice
A storm leaves the Owen Rose Garden in Eugene, Ore., now a frozen attraction. A major weather system has left an icy trail across much of the U.S. and threatens Eastern states.
(Chris Pietsch / Register-Guard)

Call it “Icepocalypse” or “Icemageddon” — a bout of wintry precipitation and bitter cold air has brought unusually icy weather to a large swath of the country.

Subfreezing temperatures made Saturday the coldest Dec. 7 on record in much of the Great Plains and Tennessee Valley, said Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. In two locations in Montana, temperatures plummeted to minus 42 degrees.

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The Eastern Seaboard, which had been mostly spared by the storm thus far, will see snow starting Sunday, with ice storms in the mid-Atlantic region. Moderate snow will start in West Virginia on Sunday before moving across portions of the mid-Atlantic into New York by Monday morning.

Major Eastern cities such as Washington and Baltimore are not expected to see too much ice accumulate on roads, but interior parts of the mid-Atlantic could see a dangerous quarter-inch of ice or more, Hurley said. Freezing rain, which he called the “main weather story” for Sunday, is expected to continue through Monday.

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In the West, the weather system that brought as much as 10 inches of snow to parts of Oregon on Friday has moved east, carrying snow to the Rockies.

Though the storm has passed, Oregon’s temperatures remain much lower than normal. In Eugene, temperatures are expected to get as low as minus 4 early Sunday morning, the lowest since 1972, said Andy Bryant, a National Weather Service hydrologist in Portland.

Bryant said that the cold would continue at least through Monday. The storm caused the University of Oregon and Oregon State to cancel classes Friday.

“It’s hard to say how long it’s going to take for us to get back to our typical cold and rainy weather — the kind of weather that the Ducks and Beavers are more familiar with,” he said, referring to the universities’ sports mascots.

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Though some parts of the country are used to frigid weather, it has proved to be particularly problematic for the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where the temperature Saturday afternoon was 25 degrees.

Over the last few days, the region saw sleet and freezing rain that covered much of the cities in ice, inspiring the name “Ice Friday.” Residents took to social media, posting photos of frozen fountains, cars covered in ice and trees brought down by heavy coatings of ice.

“The residential streets are almost like ice skating rinks,” said Dennis Cain, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Fort Worth.

The roads are so slick that Satori Ananda, who lives in Arlington, skipped the Kanye West concert that she had tickets for Friday night in Dallas.

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“I can’t leave my house because of all the ice in the street,” Ananda, 37, said in a phone interview Friday night.

Because of the dangerous conditions, the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport canceled at least 400 departures Saturday, which is about half of its usual schedule.

The MetroPCS Dallas Marathon scheduled for Sunday was also canceled.

Cain said the region’s temperatures would break above freezing Sunday, so some of the ice compacted on roads will melt. Once the sun sets, however, the water will refreeze, and it will still be impossible to drive on the roads. Cain said the cold should ease by Monday afternoon.

soumya.karlamangla@latimes.com


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