Killer winter storm sweeps east

4:22 PM, Nov 24, 2013   |    comments
Samantha Hernandez scrapes ice off of the windows after Kenneth Fields sprays them with a concoction of vinegar and water to soften the ice on Saturday in Odessa, Texas. (Photo: Edyta Blaszczyk, AP)
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(USA TODAY) -- A deadly wave of Arctic cold continued its assault across much of the nation Sunday and threatened to bring havoc to Thanksgiving travel later this week.

After blasting the California and the Southwest with heavy rains, flooding, snow and sleet blamed for at least eight deaths, the storm took aim at the nation's midsection.

The large system is expected to slog through the Southeast, bringing rain and thunderstorms to Georgia and states along the Gulf Coast just as Americans are making their final dashes home for Thanksgiving. Auto club AAA estimates that 43.4 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles from home between Wednesday and Dec. 1.

On Sunday, winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories remained in effect for much of New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma, where "significant" sleet and ice accumulations were expected,the National Weather Service said.

Bitter cold temperatures and stiff winds ahead of the storm dropped wind chills into the teens and lower in much of the Northeast on Sunday. In Boston, the wind chill dipped to 0 degrees.

"It feels like we're in the middle of winter and it's not even Thanksgiving," said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dan Pydynowski.

TRAVEL: Messy Thanksgiving travel ahead for many

The storm already has caused hundreds of rollover accidents in the West, prompting officials to cancel events and close roads.

New Mexico got another blast of snow, sleet and ice after parts of the state were blanketed in snow and freezing rain blamed for a crash that killed a 4-year-old girl. Three storm-related deaths were reported in a crash in the Texas Panhandle involving nearly a dozen vehicles. The weather front also was blamed for three deaths in California and one in Arizona.

"There is a lot of precipitation still rolling into parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas," Pydynowski said. 'It's 26 degrees in Oklahoma City, so they will be looking at frozen precipitation. We could even see sleet in Dallas."

In Nevada, snow in high elevations in the rural, eastern part of the state stranded dozens of cars. No fatalities were reported and authorities got the road open again by Saturday.

In Arizona, rain came down Saturday as more than 8,000 cyclists competed in the annual El Tour de Tucson. Also, high school football games, soccer tournaments and parades were cancelled across the state.

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