The first full day of winter brought record-setting warmth to the Berkshires and mid-Atlantic on Sunday as the rest of the country had a wild mix of ice and high wind in the Great Lakes and northern New England, flooding in the South and snow in the Midwest.
A week after the country's first major snowfall, local temperatures soared into the 60s with North Adams reporting 69 and Pittsfield 63, the latter beating the previous high of 57 set on Dec. 22, 1949, according to the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y.
NWS meteorologist Joe Villani wasn't sure if North Adams had broken the record for that date.
However, Villani is confident of more seasonable holiday weather for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Once another round of rain wraps up this afternoon, a cold front will push through and on Tuesday daytime highs will drop near the freezing mark -- a 30-degree swing in a 48-hour period. Forecasters predict cold and dry conditions for the rest of Christmas week.
Meanwhile, snow and ice knocked out power to 440,000 homes and businesses in Michigan, upstate New York and northern New England, and also left more than 400,000 people without electricity in eastern Canada. It could be days before the lights are back on everywhere.
At least nine deaths in the U.S. were blamed on the storm, including five people killed in flooding in Kentucky and a woman who died after a tornado with winds of 130 mph struck in Arkansas. Four people were killed in Canada in highway accidents related to the storm.
The icy weather was expected to make roads hazardous through at least Monday from the upper Midwest to northern New England during one of the busiest travel times of the year.
As of midafternoon, more than 700 airline flights had been canceled and more than 11,000 delayed, according to aviation tracking website FlightAware.com.
High-temperature records for the date fell for the second straight day in the mid-Atlantic states because of a mass of hot, muggy air from the South.
In New York's Central Park, the mercury reached 70 degrees, easily eclipsing the previous high of 63 from 1998. Records were also set in Wilmington, Del., (67), Atlantic City, N.J., (68), and Philadelphia (67). Washington tied its 1889 mark at 72.
The scene was much more seasonal Sunday in Vermont, where Lynne White of West Charleston listened to the cracking of falling tree branches and gazed at the coating of ice on her home.
"It's actually really pretty," she said. "Not safe, I'm sure, but it's pretty."
Heavy snow in Wisconsin forced dozens of churches to cancel Sunday services. Milwaukee got about 9 inches, Manitowoc 7. Ice and snow in Oklahoma were blamed for three traffic deaths on slick roads.
In New York's St. Lawrence County, almost 2 inches of ice had accumulated by early Sunday, coating tree limbs and power lines, and a state of emergency was declared to keep the roads clear of motorists.
"It's a big party weekend ... before Christmas," county dispatch operations supervisor Jim Chestnut said. "This put a little bit of a damper onto that."
Despite a glaze of freezing rain in Maine, plenty of shoppers ventured to the outlet malls in Kittery, Maine, on the last weekend before Christmas.