Polar Vortex Returns, Deals Icy Blow to US

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WASHINGTON -- The polar vortex is back, sinking much of the nation down into another deep freeze. Even parts of the country not shivering from the cold are suffering from other weather woes.

Sunny California wasn't so sunny as massive rainfall gave way to mudslides. Forecasters called the storm the largest since 2010.

Still, the 12 inches of rain wasn't enough to reverse California's drought.

In Texas, drivers were caught off guard as sleet hit the area. Backups on icy highways left passengers stranded in their cars for hours.

On Interstate 45, traffic stretched on for 30 miles. One young woman said she had been stuck there for four hours.

"I've got work at three in College Station. I guess that's not happening," she said.

In Tennessee, an onslaught of snow and ice gave way to bad driving conditions, even resulting in trouble for salt trucks.

A state of emergency was declared as some 61,000 residents were left without power. On Tuesday morning, the biggest concern was ice.

"We are concerned about refreezing. Temperatures will drop down to the single digits. We won't really get relief until tomorrow afternoon," William Swann, with the Office of Emergency Management, said.

Some, like Canadian native Todd, felt right at home in the frigid conditions.

"I'm Canadian and frankly the snow plows don't even come out for a day like this," Todd said. "This is just average winter weather. It's actually quite lovely and the fact that it is easy to get around on foot is great."

In Washington, D.C., the snow was the story of the day Monday, with up to eight inches of snowfall in some areas. The wintery conditions led to the closing of the federal government for the fourth time this season.

On Tuesday, the nation's capital was plagued with record-breaking low temperatures, as was the case for much of the nation.

The Great Lakes have virtually become an ice rink. Images captured by NASA show record lows have caused the lakes to ice back up, with researchers saying Lake Superior is now 95 percent covered in ice.

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