A record cold wave blamed for at least 12 deaths expanded Tuesday, dropping temperatures below zero in Iowa and Wisconsin and freezing parts of the nation from Texas to New England, while a new snowstorm closed schools in Montana and threatened to bring a second blast of arctic air.
Cars refused to start and water pipes froze as low temperature records, some of them nearly a century old, were tied or broken in at least 28 cities in nine states from the Dakotas to Missouri.
The weather dampened Veterans Day festivities across much of the country.
The first widespread snow of the season fell on New York state, and traveler advisories for a mixture of rain, sleet, freezing rain and snow were posted for much of the Northeast.
The slippery conditions caused numerous fender-benders and partial closure of a busy section of Route 23, which runs from New York into Massachusetts, after four tractor-trailers jackknifed. There were no injuries, authorities said.
Milwaukee's low of 15 tied an 1894 record. Several cities erased records that had stood since 1896 or 1911. And for some it was the earliest that such cold weather had arrived.
"This is about two weeks early for the first one-inch snowfall," said Paul Waite, Iowa's state climatologist. "There are a lot of people not ready for it."
At the other extreme, Jacksonville, Fla., warmed to a record 87 degrees, marking the city's fifth consecutive day of broken or tied records.
A new blast of frigid air was expected to follow the storm, bringing another round of sub-zero temperatures Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.
A winter storm warning was issued for the western two-thirds of Montana as the fast-moving new storm threatened up to a foot of snow in the mountains and three to six inches at lower elevations, accompanied by 40-m.p.h. wind.
In North Dakota, rescuers used snowmobiles and dogs to search the Ft. Totten Reservation for 13-year-old John Robertson, who has been missing since he went out to play Saturday during the snowstorm. Up to 28 inches of snow fell on the area during the weekend.
In Denver, shelters for the homeless were packed beyond capacity overnight as Salvation Army volunteers searched under viaducts and in abandoned buildings for those needing a place to escape the freezing cold. The mercury dropped to 17 degrees there early Tuesday.