Source Pravda.Ru

Ice storm claims 65 deaths in nice US states, paralyzes traffic

An icy storm blamed for at least 65 deaths in nine states spread snow and freezing rain across Texas all the way to the Mexican border, immobilizing communities unaccustomed to such cold.

Hundreds of airline flights were canceled, tens of thousands of electricity customers lost power and a 300-mile (485-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 10, a major east-west highway, was closed.

More than 350 flights out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, San Antonio and Austin were canceled as officials worked to de-ice runways, the AP reports.

Across the country, storms since Friday have cut off what had been an unseasonably mild winter in many areas. Ten deaths were blamed on the storm in Texas.

In Oklahoma, the ice storm was blamed for at least 23 deaths, most from auto accidents, and about 78,000 utility customers remained without power.

In the mountains north of Los Angeles, a sudden snowstorm brought traffic to a halt on busy Interstate 5.

California already had been suffering from an unusual cold snap that threatened many of its winter crops and wiped out a most of its citrus.

In Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, roads were largely empty Wednesday morning. Motorists unaccustomed to driving on ice took the day off after waking up to light snow, trees sagging with ice and icicle-draped cars.

Freezing rain and sleet were reported in Laredo and other communities along the Mexican border. Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, across the border from El Paso, had icicles hanging from famous landmarks.

In addition to the fatalities in Oklahoma and Texas, the storm was blamed for 11 deaths in Missouri, eight in Iowa, four each in New York and Michigan, three in Arkansas and one each in Maine and Indiana.

In Missouri, more than 128,000 homes and businesses were still waiting for power to be restored, but some residents were told the work could take several more days. More than 3,600 people sought relief from the cold at 85 shelters throughout the state.

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