Bitter cold sets in as winter storm wreaks havoc on travel

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BOSTON | A powerful and dangerous winter storm brought some of the coldest temperatures of the season and covered a wide swath of the country in a blanket of snow as it wreaked havoc on air travel and caused perilous icy conditions throughout New England Sunday.

The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings or advisories for portions or all of at least 15 states stretching from southeast Missouri to the northern tip of Maine ahead of the weekend storm.

More than 1,500 flights were canceled nationwide Sunday, with Boston’s Logan Airport among the most impacted, according to FlightAware, a flight tracking company.

Typically bustling security lines, ticketing counters and baggage claims were mostly deserted Sunday morning at Logan Airport, but some stranded passengers lingered.

Xavi Ortega, a 32-year old engineer from Spain, slept overnight at the airport with his wife after their 10:30 p.m. flight to Barcelona Saturday was canceled. He said the couple won’t be able to board another flight until Sunday night.

“We’ve been sleeping, playing Candy Crush,” Ortega said.

The heavily populated coast from New York to Boston for the most part escaped major snowfall Sunday but saw plummeting temperatures as snow gave way to icy rain and sleet in some areas.

Manhattan was hit with mostly rain and cities along Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts’ coast recorded two to five inches of snow.

Mountain regions were met with significantly more precipitation, with the Adirondacks in upstate New York registering up to 20 inches while western Massachusetts’ Berkshires saw as much as 10 and parts of northern New England were on track to see up to two feet of snow.

Nicholas Nicolet and his 6-year-old son Rocco welcomed the fresh powder as they cross-country skied on the sidewalks of Montpelier, Vermont early Sunday morning during the storm.

“We think it’s great,” said Nicholas Nicolet.

Meteorologists warned the primary concern heading into Monday is plunging temperatures that will be some of the coldest felt so far this season.

Wind chills were expected to hit in the teens in the New York City area, 25 below in Albany and down to 40 below in the Adirondacks.

In New England, they’re expected to fall to as low as 20 below zero around Boston, 30 below zero in the Berkshires and as low as 35 below zero in parts of Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.