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Rain Slicks Icy Roads, Threatens Dangerous Commute in Northeast

Heavy rain, strong winds and ice threatened a dangerous commute for much of the East Coast on Tuesday as extreme weather brought slick roads, power failures and flight delays.

Winter weather advisories were in effect in 17 states from Maine to Georgia as temperatures hovered around the freezing mark.

After days of record-setting cold, the Northeast was expecting temperatures 5 to 15 degrees warmer than normal, melting snow and potentially triggering flooding.

However, many interior areas were still shivering from the bitterly cold weekend, and ice continued to affect roads and power lines.

El Niño-Fueled Storms Spawn Tornadoes in South, Record Snow in North 1:34

Virginia State Police said officers responded to more than 500 crashes Monday, while 18,000 customers were still without power there early Tuesday — along with 26,800 in North Carolina, 6,000 in Ohio, 6,700 in Pennsylvania, 1,300 in Massachusetts and 2,300 in New York.

A low-pressure area associated with the same winter storm spawned up to 10 tornadoes Monday in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.

Three people were hurt and three buildings were destroyed by a twister in Century, Florida, the state Division of Emergency Management said in an update. Dozens of other homes were damaged.

See Rescuers Pull Woman From Tornado Wreckage 0:33

The main storm "will continue to produce hazardous travel conditions as it spreads snow and ice through the East into Tuesday," The Weather Channel said.

Almost 30 flights were already canceled at 6 a.m. ET, according to Flightaware, and Interstate 81 north of Scranton, Pennsylvania, was briefly closed to deal with a huge pile-up of trucks.

The Washington, D.C., area was under a flood watch Tuesday as rain coupled with melting snow threatened to cause small streams and tributaries to rise over their banks, NBC Washington reported.

Schools in Montgomery, Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties in Maryland were closed Tuesday, it added. Schools in Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax County in Virginia also had the day off.