Bone-chilling cold plods into Northeast

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By Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) — A storm that plagued the Midwest for days plodded into the Northeast on Tuesday, dropping heavy snow along already-buried lakeside areas and giving much of the region its first real taste of winter.

The storm, with its bone-chilling cold, continued its trek over the Great Lakes and into Canada. More snow was in the cards or already falling Tuesday in parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. The frigid temperatures stretched into the South, where hard freeze warnings were in effect overnight in much of Florida and several other states. Hundreds of schools were closed or opening late.

In northern Ohio, the wintry blast created risky driving conditions and pushed some university exams to Christmas week.

Commuters walking on snow-encrusted sidewalks clutched hats and tugged scarves tightly against the windy onslaught in Cleveland, where as much as 9 more inches could fall before a winter storm warning expires Wednesday morning. Up to 2 feet of snow has already fallen in parts of the traditional snow belt east of Cleveland.

Classes were canceled at Cleveland State University and Tuesday's exams were rescheduled for Christmas week.

Kent State University canceled main-campus classes Tuesday, also delaying some finals.

Dozens of helicopters were being used on Florida's valuable and sensitive veggie crops, an unusual approach by farmers worried that an uncommon freeze could wipe out their harvests.

The choppers hovered low over green bean and sweet corn fields Tuesday morning to push warmer air closer to the plants — and, the farmers hope, save the plants from a deadly frost.

In western New York, dozens of schools were closed as the storm sent the region into a deep freeze.

About 20 inches of snow fell in Perrysburg, near Lake Erie. Rochester got 10 inches, with up to a foot more possible by Thursday. Winds gusted between 25 mph to 35 mph in some areas along New Yorks' Lake Erie.

For the morning commute in Pittsburgh, the temperature was 12 degrees, with winds that made it feel like 4 below zero.

The slow-moving storm that has been crawling across the Midwest since Friday night caused dozens of accidents, stranded more than 100 motorists in Indiana and collapsed the roof of an NFL stadium made its way out of the Midwest.

The storm brought wind and lake effect snow to Indiana, where more than 100 vehicles were stuck Monday on snow-covered highways. At least 16 deaths have been attributed to the storm, which dumped nearly 2 feet of snow in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin before moving into Michigan and Indiana.

The cold snap stretched into the South on Tuesday, with parts of Alabama and Georgia hovering just above zero degrees.