Stephen Lance Dennee / The Associated Press
A good samaritan helps pull a motorist from the ditch as a snow plow passes on 32nd Street in Paducah, Ky., as snow falls Friday.
Widespread snowfall and freezing winds left icy roads and power outages stretching from Texas to the Rockies on Saturday as another powerful winter storm hit the West Coast. Much of the nation was expected to feel the advancing freeze by Monday.
The storm is set to affect a wide swathe of the nation over the weekend, including areas already pummeled by ice and freezing rain over last week. Winter storm warnings were in effect for parts of California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado with winter storm advisories in Wyoming, New Mexico and Arizona.
“Over the last 24 hours we’ve already seen snow fall amounts from 2 to 10 inches,” said Kelsey Angle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
The Weather Channel predicted widespread snow from central California and into the Southern Rockies on Saturday and subzero temperatures in Montana and North Dakota.
“It’s very bitter cold air, we’ve had lows in the minus 30s in Montana this morning,” said Chris Dolce, a meteorologist at the Weather Channel. “One place was even down to minus 41.” Dolce said the cold air led to power outages in the Great Falls, Mont., area.
Record low temperatures were expected in many locations across California and into the Rockies and Plains this weekend, with North Dakota already hitting its record low of minus 24 degrees. Las Vegas was expecting temperatures near 27.
The cold has posed challenges for citrus growers in California, with freezing temperatures threatening crops, according to a statement from California Citrus Mutual. With low temperatures expected to continue in the region, the extent of the storms damage has yet to be determined.
The snow is already affecting road conditions, with the Interstate Highway 5 in California shut down over the Tejon Pass due to snow and ice on Saturday afternoon until further notice.
Motorists were advised to use a different route, and traffic was being diverted at Parker Road in Los Angeles County, NBC Los Angeles reported. The freeway closed just before 10 a.m.
Deadly weather has gripped the U.S., cancelling flights and causing deaths. The cold weather is expected to continue, with snow and ice in the forecast. NBC's Mark Potter and TODAY's Dylan Dreyer report.
Through early Sunday, snowfall was expected across Nevada, Utah, southern Idaho, northern and central Arizona, northern New Mexico and Colorado, according to the Weather Channel. The mountain regions of Utah and Colorado were expected to see over a foot of snow. Parts of Texas, Oregon and Salt Lake City were also forecast to receive snow.
The forecasts spurred cancellation of several events, including the Dallas Marathon on Sunday, which had been expected to draw 25,000 runners, and the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis, which had registered more than 20,000 people.
The storm was expected to then spread “quickly” over the Midwest to the Mid-South and eventually as far as the Northeast by Monday. Almost the entire country will see below average temperatures by next week, according to the Weather Channel.
The Mid-Atlantic could see snow followed by sleet and freezing rain creating “slick travel conditions and the possibility of power outages,” Dolce said.
“Travel delays are probably the biggest human impact,” Dolce said. “If you are in an affected area, stay indoors. Don’t risk traveling if you don’t have to. Wait until the roads get treated and taken care of.”
Baltimore and Philadelphia could also see a few inches of snow, followed by freezing rain and sleet beginning Sunday. By Monday, the wintry mess will extend as far as New York, parts of Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Maine, forecasters said.
The winter weather is expected to linger, with continued snow and lower than normal temperatures persisting in states through the middle of the week, Angle said.
This storm follows a cold blast that killed at least 12 people and left hundreds of thousands without power. In North Texas, roughly 165,000 people were left without power Friday night.
Several states still faced power outages on Saturday morning with utility companies in Arkansas reporting a total of more than 15,800 people left without power in Arkansas and 7,700 outages in Oklahoma, according to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
“The first winter storm that was affecting parts of the south yesterday is gone, now it’s dealing with the icy conditions left behind,” Dolce said.
With ice and sleet creating slick roads, Dallas Police reported 70 road accidents over Friday night and into Saturday morning.
But Angle said the worry with the new storm isn’t ice.
“With this one that’s unfolding right now it will be more snow than sleet,” he said.
The Santa Clara County, Calif., Sheriff's Office said hypothermia — an extremely low body temperature — had killed three people since frigid conditions descended late Wednesday, NBC Bay Area reported. The storm was blamed for deaths stretching from California, Montana and as far east as Indiana and as far South as Arkansas.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport cancelled 800 flights on Saturday due to the weather, creating a three-day total of 2,705 cancelled flights.
“The first seven days of the month have been extreme; it’s a very nasty start to December in many parts of the country,” Dolce said.
This story was originally published on Sat Dec 7, 2013 12:46 PM EST