A Break From Snow But Not Cold

Clearing skies in the Northeast and northern Plains were promising some relief Thursday from the relentless snow, while polar air keeps the region in the grip of winter temperatures, reports CBS This Morning Meteorologist Craig Allen.

A few inches of snow were expected in the Northeast before skies cleared in the afternoon. Heavier amounts were possible in the West Virginia and Pennsylvania mountains, and up to 6 inches in parts of the Great Lakes.

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Detroit still is reeling from the three feet of snow dumped over the weekend. Classes for 180,000 public school students were canceled again Thursday, extending their holiday break by at least four days.

Because of the frigid temperatures and below-zero wind-chill factors throughout the Midwest, the snow that fell is not going anywhere anytime soon, reports CBS News Correspondent Drew Levinson.

The snow that has been plowed from major thoroughfares of Detroit is piled up the sidewalks. While the main travel arteries are in good condition, the biggest problem is the side streets. Residents are angry because the city does not plow these streets. While Detroit has only about 59 snowplows, Chicago has nearly 800 to maintain its winter roads.

Although the side streets are tough to navigate, the tarmac at Detroit Metropolitan Airport is returning to normal after thousands of travelers were left stranded by the weekend snowstorm. Northwest Airlines say it's still trying to sort through some 5,000 pieces of luggage.

An end to light snow was forecast in the upper Ohio Valley, but a new system moving out of Canada was expected to bring more precipitation by Thursday night to Kentucky and Tennessee, and rain to the deep South.

Still, the winter weather blamed for dozens of deaths across the eastern third of the nation and parts of Canada in the past week has settled down. The next system loomed for this weekend.

There are signs Lake Erie is ready to freeze over, a good thing since that would end the lake-effect system that has left knee-high snow across western New York.

"There already is some ice on the lake," National Weather Service meteorologist Tony Ansuini said. "On the satellite picture, we can see the west end freezing up."

In Buffalo and other parts of western New York, another 3 to 6 inches of snow is expected to top the knee-high layer of snow already on the ground.

The central Plains also had clearing skies in the forecast, though light snow and drizzle were possible in Oklahoma and eastern Kansas

The deep freeze continues in the northern Plains, where it was 20 degrees below zero early Thursday in Bismarck, N.D., and 12 below in Minneapolis.