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Snow covers 65% of the lower 48; more coming

By CNN Staff
December 28, 2012 -- Updated 1704 GMT (0104 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Storm good news for Vermont ski resorts
  • Snow now covers 65% of lower 48 states, forecasters say
  • More snow predicted for Ohio Valley and the Northeast
  • This week's wicked weather blamed for 10 deaths, authorities say

(CNN) -- Snow covers most of the lower 48 states after a week of wicked weather, but forecasters warned on Friday that it's not over yet.

Freezing rain threatened parts of Texas, Missouri and Tennessee and a fresh snowstorm was expected to push into the Ohio Valley.

Residents of Oklahoma and Arkansas are "likely to see ice accumulate on top of snow and that could compromise power lines," said CNN meteorologist Bonnie Schneider. "Keep that in mind for those of you traveling on Interstate 40 specifically."

Snow covers 65% of the ground in the lower 48 states, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. For comparison, last winter's top snow coverage for the lower 48 was nearly 48%.

"That was in February at the peak of winter and we're still in December," Schneider said.

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The powerful winter storm that dumped all that snow has moved out over the Atlantic, but not before depositing from 10 to 17 inches of snow across parts of Maine, according to the National Weather Service.

Send us your photos and video of ice, snow, storms and sleet.

Nationwide, storm-related incidents have been blamed for the deaths of 10 people, including two children in Arkansas and an 81-year-old Alabama man. He died Thursday of injuries suffered when a tree fell on his house in Georgiana.

Snowfall totals of a foot or more were common throughout the Northeast: 21 inches fell in Woodford, Vermont; 17.4 inches in Addison, New York; and 15 inches in Ashfield, Massachusetts.

The front was welcome news to snow enthusiasts in Vermont and northern New York.

"It will keep the ski resorts happy and they won't waste money making snow," said John Goff, lead forecaster of the National Weather Service office in Burlington.

The area hopes to return to a normal winter of about 80 inches of snow, up dramatically from the scant 37 to 38 inches it received last season, Goff said. "Usually you get one or two whoppers like this and it will get you caught up quickly."

Snowfall totals will be smaller Saturday, he predicted, with 2 to 4 inches in valleys and 3 to 6 inches in the mountains.

Caleb Clark, a CNN iReporter in Brattleboro in southern Vermont, called it a 'classic snowstorm.' "

"(It is) a nice and fluffy New England snow, not too dangerous and you could walk around without mittens," he said.

For travelers, major airports reported relatively few weather-related problems after a week that included thousands of flight delays and cancellations.

Friday's storm in the South was expected to move into the Northeast on Saturday.

Two to four inches of snow could fall from southern Illinois to New Jersey. New York City will see a couple inches of snow on Saturday. Areas of Connecticut to eastern Massachusetts could see higher snow amounts by Saturday night depending on the storm's track.

Winter storm strands travelers

Here's the damage that the winter storm has wrought so far:

Traffic nightmares

On the roads on Thursday, the storm triggered multivehicle pileups and other traffic nightmares across the Midwest.

Even drivers in the Northeast had a tough time navigating the icy conditions. Jim DeMarino said a normally four-hour drive from Pittsburgh to northern Virginia took eight hours.

DeMarino, who lives in Alexandria, Virginia, submitted photos of what he called a "tricky drive" along highways that were "scattered with abandoned, crashed and disabled vehicles."

Dozens of tornadoes

The same weather system that dumped heavy snow in the Midwest and Northeast spawned as many as 30 tornadoes on Christmas, some with wind speeds of more than 100 mph, across the Southeast.

Fifteen of Tuesday's powerful twisters struck Alabama, the National Weather Service confirmed. In Mobile County, David Saraceno spotted something ominous as he sped down Interstate 165 on Tuesday. He was traveling with his wife and 1-year-old daughter to visit family when he saw a tornado on the side of the road. His wife videotaped it.

"It looked like it was about two miles away from us," Saraceno said. "I put the pedal to the floor to try and get out of harm's way, but it seemed to be getting closer and closer."

Panicked, Saraceno got off the interstate near the town of Chickasaw, drove in a different direction and turned around to go home.

Mississippi remained under a state of emergency Friday, with 12 counties reporting storm damage. Nearly 60 homes were destroyed in those counties, and 22 injuries were reported.

Winter wonderland in Dallas

For others, the winter storm system brought a rare white Christmas.

In Dallas, some residents had to change from short sleeves to winter coats on Tuesday, as temperatures plummeted from the 60s to the low 20s in one day.

"We knew it was going to be a white Christmas in Dallas this year as per the weather advisory, but were not aware it will turn out to be so beautiful and freezing cold," Shail Bhatt said.

It's not often that Dallas gets more snow than Chicago, but that's what happened this week.

CNN's Monica O'Connor, Phil Gast and Daphne Sashin contributed to this report.

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