Snow and rain fell from the Missouri Valley to the East Coast Sunday with an ominous blast of Arctic cold on the horizon.
The National Weather Service warned that the next few days would produce some of the coldest temperatures the United States has seen in two decades, including "life-threatening wind chill values."
The storm was preceded by relatively balmy temperatures that created rain in many areas, which quickly froze and caused slippery conditions on roads and runways.
The Delta Connection flight that went off the runway in New York skidded on such ice as it landed Sunday morning. No injures were reported among the 35 passengers and crew, but the airport was shut down for a short time while the plane was pulled out of a snow bank and a fresh coat of salt and sand was applied to the runways, NBC News said.
A similar incident occurred Saturday at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago where a Las Vegas-bound Spirit Airlines flight slipped off a taxiway while preparing for takeoff. The passengers were evacuated in the chilly weather.
Chicago was expecting the snowfall that began late Saturday to reach 8-10 by Sunday night. Temperatures were expected to plunge and winds would increase out of the north.
The Chicago Tribune said the city's entire fleet of snow plows and salt trucks was on the road Saturday and flight cancellations at O'Hare and Midway were piling up to more than 1,100, AccuWeather.com said.
The National Football League planned to hold its two Sunday playoff games as scheduled. The San Diego Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals appeared to be dodging the brunt of the cold weather as they kicked off; however, the evening game in Green Bay between the Packers and San Francisco 49ers promised a chance of snow and brutally cold temperatures with wind-chills well below zero, the National Weather Service said.
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