Arctic air keeping bitter grip on much of U.S.

Extreme cold and ice are wreaking havoc across much of the country.

Many Texas drivers were facing some unfamiliar conditions Friday morning.

Sleet and ice caused slick roads and accidents Thursday night as freezing temperatures hit the central and southeast parts of the state. Sleet and freezing rain were hitting the Houston and Austin areas Friday morning.

It’s all part of an Arctic outbreak affecting much of the country.

There were frost and freeze warnings around New Orleans eastward all the way through to central Florida.

In Michigan City, Indiana, icy roads and white out conditions caused a massive pileup that left at least three people dead and injured more than 20.

Icy highways led to dangerous road conditions across the region.

More than 500 flights were cancelled nationwide by early Friday, according to FlightAware.com. Amtrak Northeast Corridor trains were operating on modified schedules due to the extreme cold 

In Minnesota, nearly 400 weather-related crashes have been reported in the last two days. 

The state is on track for its coldest winter in more than 30 years.

While bitter winters are nothing new for the Midwest, sub-zero temperatures were coating the Great Lakes with the greatest amount of ice in two decades.

And with more frigid weather expected to hit yet again early next week, there may be more to worry about: A national propane shortage could leave the more than 7 million households who rely on the heat source stuck in the cold.

The propane worries prompted Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley to declare a state of emergency.

In Ohio and Massachusetts, frozen fire hydrants made it hard for firefighters to do their jobs.

Thick pieces of ice slowed a New York City waterway ferry to almost a complete stop.

And forecasters say any thaw won't come anytime soon -- the cold will stick around into next week.

What's more, they say people from the Great Lakes to the East Coast could get hit with another snow storm this weekend.  And next week it could be cold enough to snow in Florida.

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