Out went the blizzard, and in came the deep freeze.
As Chicago awoke to the task of clearing up from the third biggest snowfall in its history — a monster of a storm that smothered the city in 20.2 inches of snow, stranded drivers on Lake Shore Drive and gave children their first snow day in a dozen years on Wednesday, and then again on Thursday — the temperature plunged to a bone-chilling zero degrees.
Many people retrieving their cars from tow lots Thursday said they felt no anger toward city officials. "It's Chicago. It's a snowstorm," said Tracy Kepler, 42. "They did the best they could. … They towed the cars for free."
Dozens of states from Texas to Wisconsin also saw the snow and ice stop falling, only to be replaced by a cold snap.
More than 1,000 flights were canceled Thursday — with most of them at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and Houston's Intercontinental Airport, a major hub for Continental Airlines. Still, it was only a fraction of the 6,484 flights that were canceled on Wednesday, according to FlightAware.com, a Web site that tracks air travel.
Six killed in accidents
Six people died in accidents blamed on icy road conditions.
An SUV carrying eight people launched itself off an angled, plowed snowdrift on a highway bridge on Interstate 44 and over the guardrail before plummeting 61 feet into the Spring River near Miami, Okla. Three people died of hypothermia.
And in southeastern Michigan, three people in two pickups were killed when one driver lost control on an icy road and collided head-on with the other vehicle.
Information from the Associated Press and the New York Times was used in this report.