What’s the weather outlook? Brrr! and more of it (+video)

Frigid temperatures, snow, and ice have hammered much of the country, causing airline cancellations and traffic snarl-ups, power outages, and several deaths. More is on the way.

By , Staff writer

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    A pedestrian walks down the street after heavy snowfall moved through the region Friday in Carbondale, Ill. A big chunk of the U.S. is getting a blast of frigid temperatures, sleet, snow and ice.
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Frigid temperatures, power outages, canceled flights, and snarled traffic continue across large parts of the United States with the first major storms of Winter 2013-14.

Forecasters say there’ll be more where that came from early into the coming week. Here’s the short version of what the National Weather Service has to say:

“Significant winter weather continues to plague the nation as another storm system tracks from coast to coast this weekend. Heavy snow and unseasonable cold will impact parts of the West on Saturday, while even colder temperatures and life-threatening wind chills spread through the Northern Plains. Sleet and freezing rain is forecast from the Tennessee Valley to Mid-Atlantic on Sunday.”

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Or as the Weather Channel puts it: “Winter Storm Dion, the fourth named winter storm of the 2013-14 season, will result in more snow and ice for some of the same areas impacted by Winter Storm Cleon. Dion initially will produce snow in the West through Saturday night. From there, Dion will then spread snow and ice from the Midwest to the Mid-South, Ohio Valley, Middle Atlantic and Northeast Saturday night into Monday.”

By Saturday afternoon, the weather-related tally of significant events had included: a record-low temperature of 42 degrees below zero in Jordan, Montana; more than 900 flights were canceled at Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport, where more than 3,300 travelers were forced to sleep on cots overnight Friday;  more than 200,000 customers from Texas to Tennessee lost electrical power.

The cold snap is blamed for several deaths, the Associated Press reports. Two weather-related traffic fatalities have been reported in Oklahoma and one in Dallas. In California, four people in the San Francisco Bay Area died of hypothermia.

"What's happening across most of the country is we're getting a very early taste of winter," National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Muscher told Reuters on Saturday. "This is something you'd typically see in January or February."

The latest prediction according to the National Weather Service?

“Arctic cold entrenched from the northern and central Rockies eastward across the northern Plains and upper Midwest … Winter weather expected from portions of the Mid-South across the Mid-Atlantic into New England from tonight into Tuesday … Cold Santa Ana winds for southern California Sunday night into Tuesday.”

Here’s a state-by-state roundup of weather conditions compiled by the Associated Press:

ARKANSAS

A day after freezing rain, sleet and snow brought most of Arkansas to a near standstill Friday, the sun began to help melt ice on major roadways on Saturday.

Primary roads were usable if motorists could maintain a head of steam, but once they stopped, it was difficult to get going again, said Randy Ort, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Highway and Transportation. Additional sleet or snow is expected Saturday night and Sunday.

COLORADO

Xcel Energy crews are working in bitter cold temperatures to restore natural gas service to 7,200 customers in a part of Boulder County. A company spokesman says an equipment failure at a regulator station was repaired Friday afternoon, but crews must go door-to-door to restart customers' pilot lights.

The outage came just as a winter blast brought snow and single-digit temperatures to much of Colorado.

IOWA

Temperatures ranged from the single digits to nearly 20 degrees in Iowa on Saturday, and snow was in the forecast.

Western Iowa will see 4 to 5 inches of snow, while the rest of the state is likely to get 1 to 3 inches.

The National Weather Service says lows will hover around zero at the beginning of the week and dip lower on Wednesday.

MISSISSIPPI

Parts of north Mississippi will come under a winter weather advisory Saturday night into Sunday as a second wave of freezing rain moves into the region.

The National Weather Service said ice accumulations are not expected to exceed one-tenth of an inch – enough for motorists to be cautious with overnight temperatures dropping in the upper 20s to near freezing.

NEBRASKA

Frigid temperatures are expected to hang around Nebraska through the weekend and into next week, while another storm system will bring anywhere from an inch to 4 inches of snow to central and eastern parts of the state.

NEW MEXICO

Freezing rain and slick patches made driving conditions dangerous Saturday on Interstate 40 in eastern New Mexico and Interstate 25 near Raton. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service says northern and southwestern New Mexico will see snow late Saturday into Sunday, with wind gusts up to 50 mph.

Carlsbad has set up a temporary housing shelter for the homeless because of the freezing temperatures.

NORTH DAKOTA 

The subzero temperatures aren't a problem for Fargo residents. But for those who have come to cheer on South Carolina-based Furman take on North Dakota State in a Football Championship Subdivision playoff game, it's nearly unbearable.

One mother came from Nashville, Tenn., to watch her son play for Furman. She told WDAY-TV that the 20-below zero temperature took her breath away and it hurt to breathe.

OKLAHOMA

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation said many roads were still slick and hazardous on Saturday.

Westbound lanes of Interstate 40 were shut down near the Oklahoma-Arkansas state line for nearly 2½ hours early Saturday after a tractor-trailer rig jackknifed. And ODOT warned of hazardous driving conditions on I-35 near the Oklahoma-Texas state line.

SOUTH DAKOTA

The bitter cold snap led to cancelled events and increased calls for furnace repairs.

The temperatures won't, however, keep away the state's most unwelcome visitors. Forestry officials say the mountain pine beetles that have ravaged the Black Hills in recent years can withstand the arctic temperatures, which have approached 20 below zero in some areas.

TEXAS

North Texas authorities say treacherous sections of icy Interstate 35 north of Dallas have been closed for hours at a time intermittently over the last day as tractor-trailers have difficulty climbing hills, wrecks occur and vehicles stall.

Jody Gonzalez, chief of Denton County Emergency Services, said Saturday about 200 people have been in shelters in the Sanger area – about 50 miles north of Dallas – after getting stuck.

VIRGINIA

Weather officials said an ice storm is imminent throughout much of Virginia early Sunday through Monday morning.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for at least 28 counties in southwestern and central Virginia. Accumulations of up to an inch of snow and sleet are likely through Sunday afternoon, followed by up to a half inch of ice through Monday morning.

WEST VIRGINIA

Up to an inch and snow and sleet and a half-inch of ice is in the forecast for parts of West Virginia.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for six southern and southeastern counties from early Sunday through Monday morning.

WISCONSIN

Wind chills are dipping well below zero from central to northeast Wisconsin, prompting the National Weather Service to issue wind chill advisories. Meteorologists say wind chills will be between minus-20 and minus 30 degrees on Saturday.

Southwest and central Wisconsin could also see 4 to 5 inches of fluffy snow Sunday.

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