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6 Dead, Thousands In Dark After Weekend Storm

10:25 PM, Dec 22, 2013   |    comments
A utility truck is parked on a street to help restore power to a neighborhood in North Lansing, Mich., on Dec. 22, 2013.(Photo: Robert Killips, AP)
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A storm that left at least six people dead and tens of thousands without power this weekend was pushing its way into Canada on Sunday, but holiday travelers may still face slick roads as the system douses the Southeast with heavy rainfall.

The storm that brought high winds, ice, snow and rain to a wide swath of the Southeast before roaring north will affect sections of the USA through Monday night, says Frank Strait, senior meteorologist with Accuweather.

"The main part of the storm is pulling away into Canada now and taking some of the snow with it,'' Strait says. But a lingering cold front could stretch from Virginia to Pensacola, Fla., causing heavy downpours before the system finally begins to weaken.

While roadways may be slippery, prospects brightened for airline passengers this holiday. No flights scheduled for Monday into, out of, or within the USA, had been canceled as of Sunday afternoon, according to Daniel Baker of flight tracking site FlightAware.com. That was in contrast to the 516 flights canceled Sunday.

The weather should calm by Christmas Eve, though the Midwest and East Coast likely will see freezing temperatures colder than normal.

A "cold arctic air mass is going to settle in behind the front,'' Strait says. "Across parts of the Midwest, a lot of people will be in single digits and teens for highs. That's well colder than normal.''

The weekend storm was a study in extremes. Its northern edge featured sleet and freezing rain that sparked travel advisories in New York and New England. Several inches of snow fell from Wisconsin to Oklahoma. On the other hand, many eastern cities saw record high temperatures.

"It's a big, crazy storm of contrasts," says AccuWeather senior meteorologist Paul Walker.

The storm was also deadly. Flood waters engulfed a vehicle in central Kentucky, and early Sunday three bodies were pulled from a river. Another person drowned after a four-wheeler flipped over.

In Mississippi, one man died after his mobile home overturned in the and another died when his car hit a tree that had fallen across a county road.

At least five people were injured and two dozen homes damaged in Arkansas.

In Michigan, ice and strong winds left nearly 300,000 homes and businesses in the dark Sunday, while another 100,000 were left without power in upstate New York and New England.

But in some northern cities, record warm temperatures were the news of the day. New York City reached 70 degrees Sunday morning. The previous record for Dec. 22, set 15 years ago, was 63 degrees.

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