Cold temps set stage for ice storm, severe chill across U.S.

Arctic blast of cold temps set stage for ice ... 02:02

(CBS News)  People across the United States are waking up and shivering, due to a massive cold front pushing down from Canada. Temperatures in many areas are 20 to 40 degrees below normal

The entire state of Montana is below zero this morning.

Forecasters say the freezing cold will stick around for the next five days.  Meanwhile, an ice storm could cause severe problems from Texas to Ohio, with drivers already dealing with dangerous conditions on the roads.

Plow operators in Minnesota are working around the clock after a storm that dumped more than two feet of snow in parts of the state, causing at least five deadly traffic accidents this week.

"People aren't -- weren't ready for the winter weather and weren't used to driving in it today,” Duluth, Minn., resident and commuter Patrick Fogarty said.

Residents are bracing for sustained sub-zero temperatures and wind gusts through next week that could ice over roads and knock out power for thousands.

As cold air plunges into the Western and Central U.S., the weather system moves east and south, creating a major icing event for portions of the Southern Plains to the Ozarks and into the Ohio Valley. National Weather Service

With the possibility of more snow on the way, some commuters are taking a more creative approach to getting around.

“I skied into work this morning,” said Duluth resident Jessica Olson. “The alleys were actually great because they had plowed last night, so there were a couple inches of snow -- perfect for skiing."

Also, as temperatures dive below zero in Colorado, much of the state is digging out. Snowplows have been working all night in some areas to clear more than a foot of snow, and airlines cancelled dozens of flights at Denver International Airport.

Meteorologist Megan Glaros, of CBS’ Chicago station WBBM, told the “CBS This Morning” co-hosts that the winter storm will shift direction on Thursday.

“Now, the focus is on folks from West Texas through Oklahoma into the Ohio River Valley and into Pennsylvania in the next couple of days," she said. "Snow on the Northern extent of the storm, rain on the South, and in-between an ice storm."

Glaros said to anticipate ice accumulation on roadways -- and the corresponding impacts on travel -- in Texas through Tennessee, and eventually up in Pennsylvania. Ice accumulation on power lines may also mean significant power outages.