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Ice storm slams N.E. after leaving Oklahoma, Missouri in dark

Story Highlights

• NEW: Death toll rises to 41 from Texas to Maine
NEW: California's citrus devastated by cold weather
Slick roads disrupt King holiday celebrations
Missourians might not have power until late Wednesday
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ROCHESTER, New York (AP) -- A storm blamed for at least 41 deaths in six states spread into the Northeast on Monday, coating trees, power lines and roads with a shell of ice up to a half-inch thick and knocking out power to more than half a million homes and businesses.

Slick roads disrupted Martin Luther King Jr. holiday observances from Albany, New York, to Fort Worth and Austin, Texas, where officials also canceled Gov. Rick Perry's inauguration parade on Tuesday in anticipation of another round of ice.

The weight of the ice snapped tree limbs and took down power lines, knocking out electricity to nearly 70,000 customers in New York state and New Hampshire.

Even in Maine, a state accustomed to winter weather, a layer of sleet and snow on roads forced the shutdown of numerous businesses, day care centers and schools. (Watch drivers sliding in ice and snow Video)

In hard-hit Missouri, the utility company Ameren said it would probably not have everyone's lights back on until Wednesday night.

Overnight temperatures were expected to drop into the single digits. As of Monday afternoon, about 312,000 homes and businesses had no electricity. (Watch Missourians plunged into darkness Video)

Missouri National Guardsmen went door to door, checking on residents, and helped clear slick roads.

About 106,500 homes and businesses blacked out in Oklahoma -- some of them since the storm's first wave struck on Friday -- also were still waiting for power Monday. Ice built up by sleet and freezing rain was 4 inches thick in places.

"Emergency responders are having a hard time getting to residents where their services are needed because of trees and power lines in the road," said Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, Undersheriff Richard Sexton.

The Army Corps of Engineers dispatched soldiers from Tulsa to deliver 100 emergency generators to the McAlester area. Fifty additional generators were being sent from Fort Worth, Texas, by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

About 136,000 customers were without electricity Monday in Michigan.

More than 160 flights were canceled at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Waves of freezing rain, sleet and snow since Friday had been blamed for at least 17 deaths in Oklahoma, eight in Missouri, eight in Iowa, four in New York, three in Texas and one in Maine

Before dawn Monday, a car slid into the path of a dump truck on an icy New York highway in Sennett, 20 miles west of Syracuse, killing the car's driver and two passengers.

"It was very icy, rainy, a snow-sleet mix, so definitely the road conditions had a lot to do with this," Sheriff David Gould said.

Seven of the Oklahoma deaths occurred in one accident, in which a minivan carrying 12 people slid off an icy highway Sunday and hit an oncoming truck. (Full story)

A wave of arctic air trailed the storm and was expected to push temperatures into the single digits in some areas. Oklahoma officials strongly discouraged travel, saying the frigid weather would refreeze slush and water on roads.

Most of the Missouri power outages were caused by the weight of ice snapping tree branches and dropping them onto power lines, officials said. (Watch tree limbs snap under weight of ice Video)

In New Hampshire, 4,500 outages occurred, some caused by vehicles sliding into utility poles. But in the northern part of the state ski areas were celebrating their first significant snowfall of the season.

In California, three nights of freezing temperatures have destroyed up to three-quarters of California's $1 billion citrus crop, according to an estimate issued Monday. Other crops, including avocados and strawberries, also suffered damage.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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Whitney Linsner scrapes ice off her car Monday in Rochester, New York.

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