More low-temperature records were overturned yesterday, with Wichita Falls, Tex., knocking 12 degrees off its old mark, while just 25 miles north of the winter haven of Phoenix, police turned back vehicles without chains because of 7 inches of snow.

Many roads across the Gulf Coast states were still slick from last week's snow and ice, and some major highways remained closed.

Bitter cold continued across the northern and central states, with readings of 10 to 20 degrees below zero across the northern Plains and upper Mississippi Valley. Subzero temperatures pushed as far south as southeastern Missouri and western Kentucky. Paducah, Ky., had a record low of 8 degrees below zero.

Wichita Falls, Tex., fell to 2 degrees, down from the old record for the date of 14 degrees, set in 1972, the National Weather Service said.

Other records were posted in Illinois, with Chicago down to 12 below zero, Ohio, Michigan, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky and Wyoming, where Sheridan was 3 degrees colder than its old record of 21 below zero. The 2 degrees at Fort Smith, Ark., broke a record of 7 that had stood since 1886, and the 12 below at Dayton, Ohio, was 4 degrees lower than a record going back to 1902.

Stormy weather continued to delay the return to Phoenix of five National Guard helicopters and 26 crew members who had gone to the Hopi and Navajo reservations in northeastern Arizona last week to airlift supplies to snowbound Indians.

On Saturday, the storm briefly draped snow on Palm Springs, Calif., 110 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, another haven for winter refugees, for the first time since 1979