WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Ice and freezing rain hit the northeastern United States on Saturday as a new blast of Arctic air from Canada is expected to bring more heavy snow and cold wind chills across middle America for the weekend, the National Weather Service forecast.
In parts of the eastern U.S., freezing rain created widespread travel headaches, prompting Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., to temporarily close all runways Saturday morning.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority also shut down the entire bus system until mid-morning because of unsafe streets, said a USA Today report.
Also on Saturday, as many as 55 vehicles were involved in a pileup accident after a gas tanker truck overturned in downtown Baltimore and burst into flames. At least two people were killed in the accident and more than a dozen injured, said the report.
In northern Virginia, more than 40 traffic accidents had been reported by early Saturday morning, WUSA-TV reports.
The weather service says the new front is expected to drive temperatures down sharply and quickly in the central U.S. states, with 60 and 70-degree temperatures in Oklahoma and Texas dropping as much as 25 degrees within an hour as it moves through.
A stretch of northern-tier states from Montana to Wisconsin could see night-time temperatures hitting minus 30 to 20 degrees, while parts of mid-western United States including Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois could see temperatures dipping to between 20 and 10 below zero, the website AccuWeather.com notes.