U.S. gets a mix of wild weather on 1st full day of winter - InfoNews

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U.S. gets a mix of wild weather on 1st full day of winter

Passengers check in at Terminal 3 in O'Hare International Airport in Chicago on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook for north central Illinois, northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana on Saturday morning. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
December 22, 2013 - 9:12 PM

CONCORD, N.H. - The first full day of winter brought a wild mix of weather across the United States on Sunday: ice and high wind in the Upper Midwest and northeastern New England states, flooding in the South and record-shattering temperatures in the upper teens and low 20s Celsius along the mid-Atlantic region.

Snow and ice knocked out power to 400,000 homes and businesses in Michigan, Upstate New York and northern New England. It could be days before the lights are back on everywhere.

At least nine deaths were blamed on the storm in the U.S., including five people killed in flooding in Kentucky, three traffic deaths on slick roads in Oklahoma, and a woman who died after a tornado with winds of 209 kilometres an hour struck in Arkansas. Five people were killed in eastern Canada in highway crashes blamed on severe weather conditions.

As of midafternoon Sunday, more than 700 airline flights had been cancelled and more than 11,000 delayed, according to aviation tracking website FlightAware.com.

The icy weather was expected to make roads hazardous through at least Monday from the Upper Midwest to northern New England, just days before Christmas.

At the same time, high-temperature records for the date fell for the second straight day in the mid-Atlantic states because of a mass of hot, muggy air from the South.

In New York's Central Park, the mercury reached 21 degrees C, easily eclipsing the previous high of 17 C from 1998. Records were also set in Wilmington, Delaware (19.5 C), Atlantic City, New Jersey (20 C), and Philadelphia (19 C). Washington tied its 1889 mark at 22-C.

Temperatures were expected to return to normal by Monday night and Tuesday, dropping back into the low single digits.

Heavy snow in Wisconsin forced dozens of churches to cancel Sunday services. Milwaukee got about 23 centimetres. Ice and snow in Oklahoma were blamed for three traffic deaths on slick roads.

In New York's St. Lawrence County, almost five centimetres of ice had accumulated by early Sunday, coating tree limbs and power lines, and a state of emergency was declared to keep the roads clear of motorists.

News from © The Associated Press, 2013
The Associated Press

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