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Temperatures fall below freezing in much of United States

Dec. 7, 2013 at 6:03 PM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- A cold snap gripped much of the United States Saturday, bringing freezing weather to areas that expect it, like Michigan, and those that don't, like Texas.

Temperatures fell below 32 degrees F on a stretch of the West Coast, where winters are generally mild. In the San Francisco area, four homeless people were reported to have died of hypothermia, the Santa Clara County medical examiner's office said Friday.

In the central part of the country, at least five weather-related deaths were reported, CNN said, mostly in car crashes on ice-slicked roads. In Texas, thousands of people were without electrical power.

Temperatures at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, hit 11 degrees below zero early Saturday, WCCO-TV, Minneapolis, reported. That was the coldest temperature recorded so far this season, with a wind chill of minus 25.

A wind chill advisory was posted in the area Saturday morning, and forecasters predicted significant snow during the weekend.

Northern Texas was hit hard with temperatures 30 degrees below normal. Almost 700 flights at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport were canceled Friday because of the weather, CNN said.

AccuWeather.com said some communities in the Dallas area received as much as 3 inches of sleet, adding enough weight to snap power lines and break tree limbs. Energy provider Oncor said more than 260,000 customers were without power in the metro area, and a spokesman said some people could be without power for as long as two weeks.

Cloudy and cold conditions accompanied by snow and freezing rain are expected to linger in the region through Sunday. The forecast caused the holiday parade through downtown Dallas to be canceled for the first time in 26 years.

Weekend marathon races scheduled in Dallas and Memphis were called off.

The same unpleasant conditions are expected to move into Washington Sunday after snow began falling Saturday from the central Appalachians to central New England.

The National Weather Service said conditions had created the potential for an ice storm in the nation's capital beginning about midday Sunday, but temperatures were expected to warm above freezing by early Monday morning.

Residents of normally sunny California were forecast to see snow, even in the lower elevations of the central San Joaquin Valley, AccuWeather.com reported. Little accumulation was expected on the valley floor, but the lower foothills could see 1 to 3 inches. Above the 1,000-foot elevation, some 6 inches could fall.

Interstate 5 was closed north of Los Angeles for a few hours Saturday after a snowstorm snarled traffic, making the freeway impassable, the California Highway Patrol said.

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