The snow has stopped falling and the high winds have slowed, but a deep freeze trailing the harsh winter storm was keeping residents of the central United States mostly huddled at home yesterday.

Bright sun shone down on snowplow crews as they cleared streets of a foot or more of snow — and neighborhoods buzzed with snowblowers as residents worked to unbury driveways and sidewalks.

But schools remained closed, and officials warned subzero temperatures posed a serious threat to humans and animals who dare to venture outside.

“People still need to be careful out there,” said National Weather Service spokesman Pat Slattery. “It is going to be cold.”

In North Dakota, windchills were ranging yesterday from 35 below to 55 below zero; and in Minnesota, windchill temperatures were ranging from 25 below to 35 below zero, according to the National Weather Service.

Automakers shut down after storm

DETROIT – Major automakers shut down plants in six Midwest states and Ontario yesterday after a winter storm that swept through the region a day before cut off shipments of parts and raw materials.

Chrysler Group canceled its first production shifts at plants in eight locations in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario. General Motors idled plants at six locations in four states, while Ford Motor temporarily shut plants in five locations.

Blackouts in Texas

The Texas power grid operator yesterday imposed rare rolling blackouts as frigid weather swept across the state, leaving nearly 3 million homes temporarily without electricity.

After the cold snap caused 7,000 megawatts worth of power plants to shut down, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas declared an energy emergency. ERCOT called on state energy suppliers to cut power demand in the early hours of the day equal to about 2.9 million homes.