- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 16, 2016

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The Latest on severe weather around the United States (all times local):

5:46 p.m.

Temperatures have again broken records in California, where a lingering heat wave is on the verge of finally easing.

The National Weather Service says the high in downtown Los Angeles hit 90 degrees on Tuesday, breaking the old record of 88 for the day that was set in 1977. San Diego’s high of 89 was eight degrees above the 1981 record. The airport in San Francisco recorded 72, beating a 2007 high.

Daily records were tied or broken in more than two dozen other cities.

The heat is expected to ease Wednesday, dropping temperatures as much as 20 degrees and bringing a chance of rain into Thursday morning.

Some areas could see up to a half-inch of rain.

But the weather service says high pressure will build again, bringing a chance of above-normal temperatures early next week.

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1:10 p.m.

Authorities say temperatures are nearing 90 degrees in much of the Southwest, while the East Coast and the South are cleaning up from a weekend of freezing rain and tornadoes.

In San Diego, people flocked to the beaches, where temperatures were in the mid-80s on Tuesday.

Temperatures were even higher in Phoenix: The National Weather Service is forecasting a high of 90 degrees.

That would be the earliest 90-degree day on record for the city. The previous mark was set on Feb. 24, 1986.

Elsewhere, messy snow, sleet and freezing rain created hazardous road conditions over a wide area from the Mid-Atlantic states through Pennsylvania to northern New England.

Tornadoes touched down in Mississippi on Monday, and thunderstorms knocked out power to tens of thousands in New Jersey on Tuesday.

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9:30 a.m.

A crash involving several cars and tractor-trailers caused a pileup on Interstate 81 in northeastern Pennsylvania. Roads in the area were icy after recent snow turned to freezing rain.

Emergency officials told WNEP-TV (http://bit.ly/20XSCqQ ) that eight tractor-trailers and three smaller passenger vehicles were involved in the pileup shortly before 4 a.m. Tuesday. Some drivers were checked at hospitals for minor injuries.

Driver Tom Tosh from Endicott, New York, tells the TV station from what he saw, “it’s a miracle” no one was killed.

Nearly a dozen tow trucks were seen helping to clear the wrecked vehicles.

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9:25 a.m.

The latest winter storm has left thousands without power in southwest Virginia.

Appalachian Power reported nearly 49,000 Virginia customers out of service Tuesday morning.

Appalachian Power spokeswoman Teresa Hamilton Hall tells The Roanoke Times (http://bit.ly/1omxppy ) that most of the outages were caused by ice or trees bringing down power lines.

Dominion Virginia Power, the state’s largest utility, reports fewer than 15,000 customers without power.

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9:10 a.m.

A mix of snow and ice caused a tough commute for drivers across much of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine on the first day back at work after the holiday weekend. Many schools were closed or delayed openings.

A winter weather advisory was in effect through midday Tuesday. Snow that fell overnight was expected to turn to sleet and freezing rain. Some areas have already reported up to 4 inches of snow, and road conditions were hazardous.

But gone were the subzero temperatures and dangerous wind chills of the previous few days. Temperatures were in the 20s and expected to rise to near 50 in some areas, turning the wintry mix into rain.

8:55 a.m.

Unsettled weather has reached South Florida in the form of wind, rain and a threat of possible tornadoes.

Tornado watches and warnings expired in Broward and Palm Beach Counties, but National Weather Service meteorologist Chuck Caracozza says South Florida could see more bad weather Tuesday as a cold front pushes through.

Caracozza says the stormy conditions could bring wind gusts of up to 60 mph. The cold front also is expected to send temperatures down to about 60 degrees Tuesday night.

On Monday night, a suspected tornado tore through Century, near Pensacola in the Florida Panhandle, destroying or significantly damaging about 10 homes. No injuries were reported.

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8:20 a.m.

Virginia State Police say they have responded to at least three fatal crashes on icy roads in the state, a fraction of the nearly 100 crashes reported statewide.

Police say a trooper and two other people were on the median of Route 288 in Chesterfield County outside Richmond on Monday evening when they were hit by a vehicle, throwing one person into a nearby firefighter. Police said that person was pronounced dead and the trooper and the second person were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Police say 63-year-old Steven Gibbs of Linden was killed Monday morning when his SUV hit a snow plow in Fauquier County. In Loudoun County, police say a woman was killed Monday night when her car rear-ended a backhoe.

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7:35 a.m.

Icy, slushy roads are greeting commuters in southern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, as Presidents Day snow melts and freezing rain transitions to rain.

PennDOT spokesman Gene Blaum tells WPVI-TV that icy spots are possible on roadways and speed remains reduced on some sections of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and other roads around the region.

Fog is complicating the Tuesday morning commute in Allentown and other parts of the Poconos.

Some schools are closed and others are opening two hours late over the tricky travel conditions.

The National Weather Service says rain and warmer temperatures are expected to melt the slush later Tuesday afternoon. However, the rain could cause some flooding.

Temperatures could climb to almost 60 degrees in Philadelphia.

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7:35 a.m.

Transportation officials are warning motorists to delay travel as the mid-Atlantic region wakes up to a coating of ice that’s making roads and sidewalks treacherous.

Many schools systems are closed or opening late Tuesday. Federal offices and some governments in the region are opening late, too.

Transportation officials are urging drivers to be cautious. Officials say they been seeing spinouts and crashes. In Virginia, state police say there have been reports of ice bringing down trees onto Interstate 81 in Roanoke County.

Officials say they are treating roads, but all streets could be dangerous. Conditions are expected to improve later in the day as temperatures rise.

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6:50 a.m.

A mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain has made driving hazardous for commuters in upstate New York, with winter storm warnings and other advisories posted.

Separate tractor-trailer crashes within miles of one another shut down a major artery, the Thruway, in both directions for a time early Tuesday just northwest of Albany. Authorities later reopened most lanes. State police say there was freezing rain at the time but the causes of the crashes are being investigated.

The city of Buffalo public works department brought in extra crews to remove the snow that began falling around 3 a.m. The National Weather Service says snow accumulations could range from 2 to 4 inches in the Hudson Valley to as much as 18 inches in areas between Rochester and Buffalo.

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6:40 p.m.

Temperatures are warming in most of North Carolina, but problems including power outages lingered after the snow, sleet and freezing rain.

A major utility, Duke Energy, reported that more than 32,000 customers were without service in North Carolina early Tuesday, chiefly west of Winston-Salem and in the Raleigh-Durham areas. And schools were opening 2 hours later than usual in at least 10 North Carolina counties, mostly in the east.

Forecasters warn more winter weather will move into the western part of the state Tuesday night and early Wednesday with up to 3 inches of snow possible in some areas. Strong thunderstorms also remain a possibility around the Raleigh-Durham area, forecasters say.

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6:30 a.m.

The federal government is opening three hours late after freezing rain coated the Washington region in hazardous ice.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which sets leave policies for 300,000 federal workers, says the government will open late Tuesday, but employees have the option for unscheduled leave or telework.

Freezing rain fell throughout the region overnight after a storm dropped several inches of snow on Monday, leaving roads and sidewalks very slick. Many school systems in the region are opening late or are closed for the day.

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5:15 a.m.

The National Weather Service says commuters across much of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine face a tough morning slog back to work after the long holiday weekend. A winter weather advisory remains in effect through midday Tuesday across much of northern New England amid forecasts that snow will turn to sleet and freezing rain in some areas.

While the Northeast endures bitter cold, snow and icy rain, some Western states are coping with record warmth. Temperatures in the continental U.S. on Monday ranged from a morning low of 26 degrees below zero at Saranac Lake, New York, to a high of 89 degrees at Fullerton, California.

In Phoenix, Arizona, the fire department went so far as to issue safety tips associated with hot weather - such as not leaving children or pets unattended in vehicles, staying hydrated, and scheduling outdoor activities during the cooler hours of the morning and evening.

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4:52 a.m.

Suspected tornados tied to a vast winter storm system that pounded much of the Eastern seaboard with snow and sleet have pounded several homes to rubble and damaged a school in the South.

There were no immediate reports of any deaths or serious injuries. But witnesses say one 94-year-old woman had to be pulled from beneath debris after a suspected twister tore through a Florida Panhandle community on Monday.

Police in Virginia reported at least three traffic fatalities on roads slickened by snow and sleet. And much of the East Coast shivered through bitter cold and snow.

In the West, Arizona and California basked in heat. The National Weather Service forecasts Phoenix to have a record high of 89 on Tuesday.

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