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Icy touch extends to Mexico

Published January 18, 2007


SAN ANTONIO - An icy storm blamed for at least 64 deaths in nine states spread snow and freezing rain across Texas all the way to the Mexican border Wednesday, closing the Alamo, glazing freeways and immobilizing communities unaccustomed to such cold.

Accumulations were light by many regions' standards - the Dallas area topped out at a half-inch of snow, and more than 3 inches piled up west of Fort Worth. But hundreds of airline flights were canceled, tens of thousands of electricity customers lost power and a 300-mile stretch of Interstate 10, a major east-west highway that cuts through the state, was closed.

Across the country, storms since Friday have cut off what had been an unseasonably mild winter in many areas. Nine deaths were blamed on the storm in Texas.

In Oklahoma, the ice storm was blamed for at least 23 deaths, most from auto accidents, and about 75,000 utility customers in eastern Oklahoma remained without power.

In the mountains north of Los Angeles, a sudden snowstorm brought traffic to a halt on busy Interstate 5. Snow mixed with hail also fell at lower elevations of northern Los Angeles County, leaving some neighborhoods with rare coatings of white.

California already had been suffering from an unusual cold snap that threatened many of its winter crops and wiped out most of its citrus.

In addition to the fatalities in Oklahoma and Texas, the storm was blamed for 11 deaths in Missouri, eight in Iowa, four each in New York and Michigan, three in Arkansas and one each in Maine and Indiana.

In Missouri, more than 120,000 homes and businesses were still waiting for power to be restored, but some residents were told the work could take several more days. More than 3,600 people sought relief from the cold at 85 shelters throughout the state.

[Last modified January 18, 2007, 00:32:01]

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