Nightly News   |  December 07, 2013

Winter storm brings frigid conditions across the nation

A winter storm is bringing heavy snow, ice and freezing rain to the central part of the country, resulting in thousands of canceled flights.  What’s next for this brutal weather system? The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore reports.        

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> deadly weather is making life miserable for millions of people. 11 weather related deaths have been reported. weather channel meteorologist jim cantore is with us from dallas .

>> reporter: if you looked at the average temperatures of every spot in this country the average temperature was 14.5 degrees, that's colder than any hour of any day all of last winter. that cold combined with the moisture has created quite a mess, especially in cities like dallas . heavy snow, ice, freezing rain and brutal winds lashed the central part of the country. the south bore the brunt of this brutal weather system . in dallas , and major southern cities, temperatures remain below freezing turning sleet and slush to hard ice, up to one inch on some roadways, making everyday drives treacherous trips.

>> watch out, everybody, here it comes.

>> i've only seen it worse like this in my life. i've been driving for 37 years.

>> reporter: hundreds of traffic accidents reported since friday causing extensive delays, closing i-35 several times up to ten hours.

>> you try change lanes and you're going sideways.

>> reporter: in ohio this public bus lost control and slams right into a parked car but sliding down the rest of the road sideways. across arkansas and texas, utility crews are scrambling to clear ice encrusted power lines , as more than 200,000 customers remain without power. airlines have canceled nearly 1,000 flights today, with more than half of those flying through dallas , stranding 4,000 people. one traveler recorded this cell phone video of families forced to spend the night in the airport, on cots and blankets.

>> tampa, orlando, i don't care, get me to the state of florida.

>> reporter: this satellite time lapse shows the size and strength of the storm, droppings as much as 13 inches of snow in some areas. the arctic air brought dramatic temperature drops. it was a balmy 81 degrees in miami compared to a neglective 30 in hazard, montana, a difference of 111 degrees. the cold set record lows in las vegas and northern california . in the bay area , four people died from hypothermia, $1 million worth of citrus devastated and now lettuce and avocado crops are in danger. back in the east, a second storm is putting states like virginia on high alert for ice. the northeast next in line. let's talk about this second storm which is producing snow and cold rain in nevada and california. it moves out tonight and look at this, this purple area indicates where we expect sleet and freezing rain , some of the same areas that got the sleet and freezing rain from the first storm. we move into sunday, the snow will impact cities like chicago and omaha, nebraska, but it's the freezing rain now for virginia, including the nation's capital, west virginia , ohio and north carolina . on monday that entire mess of sleet, snow and freezing rain moves right up the i-95 corridor into new england for a horrible rush hour. here in dallas we stay in the deep freeze until at least wednesday, when we may get above