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Thousands of flights canceled as wintry weather wallops East Coast

Photo provided by iReport
Monday, December 9, 2013 - 8:00am

Canadian James Archibald has lived at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for four days as a bizarre deep freeze forced airlines to cancel hundreds of flights.

"I just don't understand why they can't get the ice off the runway," he said. "I know it's for our own safety, but its getting a bit silly."

As Texas begins to thaw this week, Archibald may be able to take to the air.

But passengers on the East Coast: brace yourselves.

Freezing rain will fall from central Virginia to southeast New York on Monday. Some parts could see up to a quarter of an inch of ice.

In Washington, federal agencies will open two hours late Monday due to the weather.

More than 2,600 flights were canceled nationwide Sunday. Another 1,000 were nixed for Monday, according to the website Flightaware.com, which tracks both mechanical and weather cancellations.

Dangerous conditions

The storm that froze the South has also been deadly. At least seven people have died in storm-related incidents in Texas, Arkansas and New Mexico since Thursday, officials said. Most were involved in traffic crashes.

In Arizona, a Saturday night snowstorm stranded 300 vehicles along Interstate 15. Rigs jackknifed and passenger cars slid into rigs, causing chain-reaction crashes and an enormous backup, Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer Bart Graves said.

Authorities shut the interstate for more than 12 hours to clear the road.

"We had travelers running out of gas. They provided them food, water, and blankets," Graves said.

Some residents in the Dallas suburb of Plano had to deal with an unusual danger: sheets of ice cascading from buildings to the sidewalks and streets.

"The apocalypse has started," one man said shortly before layers of ice fell onto cars.

What's ahead

Temperatures are expected to rise Monday in Texas, which could help move the countless passengers trying to get through DFW airport.

But large swaths of the West and northern Plains will struggle to rise above 20 degrees Monday and Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.

And while the Gulf Coast and Southeast will be spared the frigid temperatures and ice Monday, many areas will get pummeled with heavy rain.

All this with 12 days left to go until the official start of winter.

-- CNN's Ed Lavandera, Dave Alsup and Emily Minner contributed to this report.

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