Holiday Travel Freezes in Frigid Temps

There were long, snaking lines at customer service counters today and Monday, and some travelers said they spent three hours waiting Monday to rebook flights to the snowy Pacific Northwest.

Airlines at the Seattle-Tacoma airport began to resume normal service late this morning. Airport spokesman Perry Cooper told The Associated Press that only about 100 people had spent Monday night at the terminal and that ticket counter lines today were greatly reduced.

"We're rebooked out on a flight this morning, and as of when we left home they said we're going, so we'll see," Colette Stallbaumer, a stranded traveler, told Seattle affiliate KOMO.

Alaska and Horizon airlines, which account for about half the flights out of the Seattle-Tacoma airport, planned to resume normal operations today.

Alaska Airlines officials are warning passengers to check flight status and figure out their plans before they get to the airport so they are not waiting at the airport.

Amtrak's Cascades passenger train service remained shut down Monday between Eugene, Ore., and Vancouver, British Columbia. Gus Melonas, a spokesman for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, which operates the tracks, said partial service might be restored today.

Greyhound resumed bus service today after bus passengers bound for Washington state and Oregon were stuck for as long as three days in Salt Lake City because of road closures and hazardous conditions, Greyhound Lines Inc. spokeswoman Abby Wambaugh said.

Winter Weather Paralyzes Nation

The weather is expected to stay frigid until at least Christmas. The National Weather Service expects snowfall to total 2 to 4 inches in Chicago, with an additional 1 to 3 inches overnight and into Wednesday morning. It also warned residents to take care while driving because of limited visibility and snow on the roads.

Midwest residents are experiencing below-freezing temperatures, with snow so heavy that roofs have caved in under pressure. The Chicago Bears played against the Green Bay Packers Monday night at Chicago's Soldier Field in a bone-chilling 2 degrees, the coldest game in Bears history.

Snow has gripped Portland, Ore., and Seattle where hundreds of travelers have been unable to fly or drive out because of flight, train and bus delays and cancellations. The snow in some parts of the Pacific Northwest is the deepest it has ever been.

At the Seattle-Tacoma airport, some travelers have waited as long as 12 hours to talk to an agent.

Meanwhile, snow and ice also continued to bedevil the Northeast.

New Englanders are used to blizzards and ice, but parts of the region got battered with their third major storm in a week, extreme for even longtime residents.

The small town of Eustis, Maine, got nearly 3½ feet of snow.

In New Hampshire, thousands of residents remained without power from earlier storms and an additional foot of snow was expected in the latest storm.

An electric outage in many areas has forced thousands of people into homeless shelters.

Christine and Mike Dauwer, residents of Londonderry, N.H., never imagined spending the holidays in a shelter. The family of six lost power two weeks ago when an ice storm hit the region, and they still don't have electricity in their home.

"We might not even have power for Christmas," Christine Dauwer said. "That's really, you know, upsetting. Especially since it's going to be her [the baby's] first Christmas, we'd like to have that at home."

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