Winter arrived yesterday, pulled in on a sled of Arctic air that slipped down across the western two-thirds of the nation, from frosty Seattle to snowy California and the frozen Texas panhandle.

The cold turned truck fuel to gel in Wyoming, where temperatures plunged to 50 degrees below zero Fahrenheit in some places. It snapped power transmission lines and delayed Amtrak's Seattle-to-Chicago "Empire Builder" on tracks brittle from the cold between Seattle and Fargo, N.D.

Records were tied or broken in many places, including Denver, which matched a record at 21 degrees below zero, and Casper, Wyo., where it was 41 below. In Medford, Ore., the record of 4 below zero was 15 degrees below the previous mark for the date.

In Texas, it was 2 degrees below in Amarillo and 6 above in Lubbock.

The storm has been blamed for at least 14 deaths in Washington, Iowa, Oregon, California, Oklahoma and Mississippi since Tuesday.

The cold moved south briskly. In Page, Okla., temperatures dropped from 53 to 29 degrees in 30 minutes yesterday morning, forecaster Jim Purpura said.

"They have to join the rest of us," he said, referring to portions of Oklahoma that had been spared the frigid weather.

In Wyoming, hundreds of Christmas travelers abandoned their frozen vehicles. "The problem is not the road conditions -- the roads are pretty dry," said Michelle Ryel, a dispatcher with the Wyoming Highway Patrol in Cheyenne. "The problem is the bitter cold is freezing up these trucks. Their fuel is gelling."

Eight inches of snow fell at Gallup, N.M., where a recreation center was converted to an overnight shelter for stranded travelers.

Train travelers were delayed up to 24 hours when the cold stalled Amtrak's "Empire Builder." "It's cold enough to crack {rails} when the ice builds up," said Amtrak spokesman John Jacobsen. "Sometimes it just separates the rails, but whether it actually cracks a rail or simply separates a rail, you can't operate a train. You have to wait to get a repair crew there."

More than 3,000 homes in southern Oregon lost their natural gas supply when pressure dropped in a pipeline that supplies the area.

Thunderstorms and twisters swirled through Mississippi and Louisiana, overturning a tractor-trailer rig, blowing cars off the road, damaging buildings and injuring at least five people.