Bitter Cold, Heavy Snow Grips U.S. From Northern Plains to New England

A runner goes for a run in Eagle Creek Park as snow falls Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
A runner goes for a run in Eagle Creek Park as snow falls Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Arctic air and strong winds are bringing bitterly cold weather from the Northern Plains to New England, along with heavy snow from the Rockies to the Great Lakes, but hopes for a White Christmas appear to be fading in most areas.

A wintry mix is likely into Saturday from the Middle Atlantic to southern new England with another blast of cold weather coming next week.

Below-normal temperatures are expected this weekend and into Monday across the entire northern half of the country, from the Pacific Northwest to Maine and as far south as Oklahoma, Arkansas and Virginia, according to the Climate Prediction Center.

Up to half a foot of snow could fall from the Upper Mississippi Valley to the Northeast on Friday and Saturday, and areas east of the Appalachian Mountains could see freezing rain and sleet Saturday.

On Friday, wind chills in some areas of the interior Northeast and New England plummeted to as low as 10 or even 20 degrees below zero.

In upstate New York, along the Lake Ontario shore, wind gusts approached 70 mph and the National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning. Lake-effect snow was accompanied by winds up to 50 mph, causing whiteout conditions in some places.

Elsewhere in New York, parts of the Adirondack Northway, north of Albany, were closed for more than four hours after a crash involving a tractor-trailer and a snowplow. No injuries were reported.

In western Pennsylvania, lake-effect snow bands were blamed for slick roads and poor visibility. Fifty-nine vehicles crashed in a snowy pileup and three people were hurt. The crash was one of three that shut down different stretches of Interstate 80.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Doug Stanglin