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Icy Storm Freezes Out Airlines, Power and Marathoners

Texas Storm
Children play in front of a damaged tree in a yard on December 6, 2013 in Plano, Texas. Photographer: Stewart F. House/Getty Images

An icy storm fueled by the coldest air of the season knocked out power to more than 200,000 customers from Texas to Tennessee, grounded thousands of flights and canceled the Dallas marathon.

The storm, which grew out of a blast of arctic air that swept down from Canada, reaches from coast to coast and deep into the U.S. South. A new storm developing tonight and tomorrow may bring snow from the Midwest to Boston.

“For the eastern cities, it will be snow, but not that big of a problem,” said Paul Walker, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

Twelve people in nine states have died because of the storms, MSNBC’s Craig Melvin said in a Twitter posting. Today, 1,086 flights have been canceled, most of those run by American Airlines Inc. and American Eagle, with Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport accounting for 942. That added to the more than 3,000 flights canceled over the past two days.

The 1.25 inches (3 centimeters) of sleet and freezing rain that knocked out power in the Dallas-Fort Worth area also closed schools and forced the cancellation of tomorrow’s MetroPCS Dallas Marathon, according to the event’s website.

“That is an incredible amount of icing,” said Ken Clark, a meteorologist with AccuWeather. “No matter where it occurs, it is going to cause major problems.”

Tomorrow’s Storm

As the storm moved northeast, it left a trail of snow from southern Illinois to central Pennsylvania, Clark said. Tomorrow’s storm is expected to drop 3 inches to 6 inches across northern New York and New England and as much as 3 inches in Washington.

New York City may get snow tomorrow after 4 p.m. before it changes over to rain and sleet, according to the National Weather Service. The precipitation is expected to be all rain by early on Dec. 9, and Boston may see rain, snow and sleet.

“It is kind of like a double batch,” Clark said. “There will be a brief respite and then the second storm will be coming up.”

Another storm is forecast for the Ohio Valley and East Coast tomorrow, Walker said. It will start out as an “icy mix” of rain and sleet from southern Illinois into Ohio, then bring snow, sleet and freezing rain to Virginia and the Northeast.

West Virgina, the western part of Virginia and Maryland’s panhandle may see much as a half inch of ice tomorrow, which can bring down tree limbs and possibly power lines, he said.

From 1993 to 2012, winter storms caused $27.8 billion in insured damages in the U.S., the worst type of catastrophe after tornadoes and hurricanes, according to the Insurance Information Institute in New York.

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