Source AP ©

Ice storm begins in USA's Northeast

A storm system slid across the U.S. Northeast with snow, sleet and freezing rain, glazing roads and tying up air travel after blacking out thousands of customers in the Midwest.

At least 11 deaths have been blamed on weather-related traffic accidents.

Winter storm warnings were in effect into Monday in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine and into Tuesday in parts of New York state. On the other side of the weather system, warnings were issued for parts of Michigan, where freezing rain and sleet were turning to snow late Sunday.

The National Weather Service said a foot (30 centimeters) of snow was possible in the mountains of northern New England, with the potential for 20 inches (50 centimeters) in northern Maine. In higher elevations of upstate New York, 13 inches (33 centimeters) of snow was possible. Lake-effect snow and high winds were forecast for parts of Michigan and western New York.

"It's kind of a mess - probably the best way to term it in one word," meteorologist Bob Kilpatrick said in Albany.

Up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) had fallen by Sunday afternoon in central New York state, and parts of New Jersey measured less than 3 inches (8 centimeters).

Hundreds of flights into the New York City area's three main airports - Kennedy, Newark Liberty and LaGuardia - were delayed as long as two hours Sunday because of wind and ice.

In the Midwest, more than 200 passengers stranded at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Saturday when hundreds of flights were canceled were able to reach their destinations Sunday, said Gregg Cunningham, a spokesman for Chicago's Department of Aviation.

But lingering rain and poor visibility caused about 50 flight cancelations Sunday afternoon, forcing about 75 people to stay at the airport overnight, Cunningham said.

While the Midwest dug out and the Northeast braced itself, a separate storm raked the Oregon and Washington coasts in the West with winds gusting higher than 100 mph (160 kph) in some spots. Officials warned of coastal flooding, and one sheriff reported 45-foot (14-meter) surf and power failures.