Snow, ice and blustery winds laid a blanket of artic cold over much of the nation yesterday, causing widespread power outages in Texas and Missouri and stranding thousands of airline travelers in Chicago. At least 10 deaths were blamed on the New Year's weekend weather.

Heavy snow and ice extended over the Far West across the Midwest and into the South. Temperatures were below zero over most of the northern Plains, including all of North Dakota.

A large area of Texas was blasted by snow, freezing rain and drizzle. A utility official in Dallas said an ice storm that moved into the area Saturday night and lingered until yesterday was "the worst in 30 years."

At the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, where Notre Dame defeated the University of Houston, about 40,000 ticketholders failed to show up at the 72,000-seat stadium.

Up to 10 inches or snow fell in Illinois on Sunday, forcing officials to temporarily close O'Hara airport, the world's busiest. Thousands of holiday travelers retreated to hotels to wait our the storm.

Only one runway at O'Hars was operating yesterday afternoon, and Harry Eberlin, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said no planes were landing. He said airlines were diverting flights elsewhere and were canceling those that had not been allowed to leave for Chicago.

A snow emergency was declared Sunday in Milwaukee and its suburbs, where depths reached 18 inches and winds of up to 25 miles per hour scattered new snow across thestreets as fast as crews could open them. Many churches canceled New Year's Eve services.

Montana received below-zero temperatures for the fifth consecutive day yesterday, prompting the Montana Power Co. to issue a plea for customers to conserve energy. Parts of Butte were without power for 13 hours Sunday after temperatures plummeted to 39 below zero.