"Our elders maintain the Sun doesn’t rise where it used to, we see longer daylight to hunt and the Sun is higher than it used to be and warms up quicker than before. The Earth has shifted, wobbled or tilted to the North." - Inuit Elders
February 20, 2015 - UNITED STATES - Hundreds of daily record lows and at least three all-time record lows have been set as a frigid air mass with a connection to Siberia grips the central and eastern United States with dangerously cold conditions. Friday morning has brought the most widespread and intense cold of the winter to many areas, sending temperatures into the 30s below zero as far south as Kentucky.
WATCH: Another Blast Of Cold Air To End Weekend - In the Midwest, temperatures will get a bit closer to average Saturday, but watch out Sunday.
Lynchburg, Virginia, plummeted to 11 below zero Friday morning, setting a new all-time record low for any day of the year. The previous record was 10 below zero on Jan. 21, 1985, and Feb. 5, 1996. Impressively, Lynchburg's temperature records go all the way back to 1893.
Flint, Michigan, tied its all-time record low of 25 below zero, originally set Jan. 18, 1976. Weather records in Flint began in 1921.
Earlier this week Erie, Pennsylvania, had tied its all-time record low when it reached 18 below zero Monday. That tied the record set Jan. 19, 1994. Not far away, Jamestown, New York, set an all-time record low of 31 below zero Tuesday, though its records only go back to 1960.
|Coldest in At Least a Decade - The cities plotted on this map have recently recorded their lowest temperatures for any date in at least 10 years.|
|Current Wind Chills|
At least 72 daily record lows have been set Friday morning from Connecticut to Florida to as far west as Indiana, including major cities such as New York, Baltimore, Washington, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Detroit and Cincinnati.
According to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, 453 record lows were tied or broken Sunday through Wednesday. This figure includes not only major airport reporting stations, but also smaller cooperative observation sites in rural areas. This number is likely to skyrocket when data for Thursday and Friday are published.
More Friday Morning Records
All-time February record lows: Cleveland has broken its all-time record low for the month of February, reaching 17 below zero. The previous February record was minus 16 on Feb. 10, 1899, in the nation's worst arctic outbreak in modern memory. It is also Cleveland's coldest day since Jan. 19, 1994, when the city set its all-time record of 20 below zero.
A Kentucky Mesonet site east of Richmond, Kentucky, reported a low of 32 below zero. According to the Kentucky Climate Center, this ties the all-time February record low for the state set in Princeton on Feb. 2, 1951. Kentucky's all-time record low for any month and day was 37 below zero in Shelbyville on Jan. 19, 1994.
Coldest so late in the season: Norfolk, Virginia, reached 9 degrees. That city had never recorded a single-digit temperature this late in the season before; previously the latest single-digit low had been on Feb. 14 in 1899. Lexington, Kentucky, reached 18 below zero – also beating February 1899 for the coldest reading so late in the season.
Coldest since the 1990s: Besides Cleveland (mentioned above), several other cities had their coldest temperatures since the 1990s:
- Philadelphia reached 2 degrees for its lowest reading since Jan. 19, 1994.
- Lexington, Kentucky, also had its coldest morning since that date.
- Huntington, West Virginia, reached 15 below zero for the first time since Jan. 19, 1994.
- Washington, D.C., hit 5 degrees for the first time since Feb. 5, 1996.
- Baltimore had its lowest temperature since Jan. 19, 1997, reaching 1 degree.
Coldest in at least a decade: New York City fell to 2 degrees, marking its lowest temperature since Central Park hit 1 degree on Jan. 16, 2004. It's the Big Apple's second 10-year low in less than a week; Central Park hit 3 degrees on Feb. 16, outdoing the 4-degree low on Jan. 7, 2014.
Florida chill: Florida was not exempt from the cold. Record lows for the date included Miami (42, tie); Fort Lauderdale (40, tie); West Palm Beach (38); Naples (36); Fort Myers (35); Tampa (34); Orlando (33, tie); and Jacksonville (24), among others.
Crestview, in the Panhandle, dipped to 19 degrees Friday morning.
Forecast: Frigid Air Will Retreat, But Won't Disappear
Friday highs will be 10 to 25 degrees below average from Maine to Florida.
|Friday's Forecast High Temperatures|
Saturday: Below-average temperatures will continue in much of the Midwest and Northeast. Our forecast shows that more than a dozen locations in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic could threaten daily record lows on Saturday morning.
Potential record lows (current record in parentheses): Richmond, Virginia (13 degrees) | Baltimore (8 degrees) | Newark (1 degree)
|Saturday Morning Lows/Saturday Highs - Lows for Saturday morning are displayed to the left in blue. Highs for Saturday are to the right in orange.|
Recap: Records Already Broken
Wednesday Recap: Highs were up to 30 degrees below average in the Midwest, with highs mainly in the single digits and teens. In fact, the Twin Cities topped out at just 2 degrees Wednesday, or 28 degrees below average.
Parts of the Northeast and Southeast, including Florida, were 10 to 20 degrees below average. For example, Pensacola, Florida topped out at a brisk 53 Wednesday, 11 degrees below average, after a frosty morning low of 29.
According to the National Weather Service in Chicago, the Windy City has not had a high temperature below 10 degrees this late in the winter since 1963. And on Wednesday, Chicago's high was only 8 degrees. The average high for Feb. 18 in Chicago is 36.
Thursday morning lows: Lows in the single digits were recorded as far south as northern Georgia and northern Alabama. Widespread subzero lows were reported as far south as Kentucky and Tennessee. Teens and 20s below zero were recorded in parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and northern Michigan. A few spots in northern Minnesota were in the minus 30s and even the minus 40s. The coldest temperature reported was minus 43 degrees near Cotton, Minnesota.
Daily record lows were set in the following cities: Chicago (minus 8 degrees), Louisville, Kentucky (minus 3 degrees), Paducah, Kentucky (minus 10 degrees), Lexington, Kentucky (minus 8 degrees), Bowling Green, Kentucky (minus 7 degrees), Greensboro, North Carolina (10 degrees), Nashville, Tennessee (5 degrees - tie), Cincinnati, Ohio (minus 6 degrees), Springfield, Missouri (minus 5 degrees), Asheville, North Carolina (3 degrees) and Lynchburg, Virginia (4 degrees).
For Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Paducah, Kentucky, Thursday morning was the coldest since Jan. 19, 1994 with lows of minus 7 degrees and minus 10 degrees, respectively. In Lexington, Kentucky, the low of minus 8 degrees was the coldest temperature there since Feb. 4, 1996.
Thursday highs: Bitterly cold weather lasted all day across much of the eastern half of the country Thursday.
Highs in both Lexington, Kentucky, and Charleston, West Virginia, were 40 degrees below average based on preliminary data. Highs were at least 30 degrees below average from Chicago to Nashville to Atlanta to Pittsburgh. Atlanta's high only reached 28, the first time Georgia's capital has had a subfreezing high temperature this late in the season since March 2, 1980.
This tweet from winter weather expert Tom Niziol of The Weather Channel shows the origin of this frigid air mass. The red line traces the air mass back to Siberia in Russia. It then crossed over the North Pole on its way to Canada and into the United States. This is what meteorologists sometimes refer to as the "Siberian Express".
|So where is record cold for Nashville and the Southeast coming from, check out Siberian Express!! Twitter: Tom Niziol|
120-year-old record low broken in D.C., one of many today and in the past week
We talk about record highs a lot in Washington, but the recently unfathomable was accomplished this morning. We broke a record low.
A temperature of 5 degrees was enough to smash a 120-year-old record for the date — a moment worthy of meteorological reflection.
When the city — often the warmest location in the region — is breaking record lows, you know it’s a cold one. Most of the area saw one of the most truly frigid nights in recent memory last night, made more amazing because of how late in the season it happened.
- Two out of three of our climate sites — National and Baltimore-Washington airports — broke record lows this morning. This comes after record low maximums at Dulles and BWI on Thursday, and other records earlier in the week.
- Yesterday’s 21 degree maximum tied for the coldest high recorded at National Airport (since the 1940s) so late in the season.
- In some ways, this late-season cold is nearly unprecedented. Four days with highs 22 or less in mid-February and beyond would break a record dating to the 1800s.
The big one — partly because it’s so rare — is the D.C. (as measured at National Airport) record low of 5 degrees this morning. It bests the 8 degrees that was put on the books way back in 1896 on this date. It’s the first record low broken in the city since May 2002 (one was tied in April 2007), and the first winter record low since January 1994.
D.C.’s record low of 5 degrees also surpasses last winter’s coldest low of 6 degrees on Jan. 7. The last time D.C. officially reached 5 degrees or lower was in 1996. January 1994 was the last below-zero reading, when it hit -4 degrees.
As usual, D.C. was outdone by its climate-station partners at Dulles and Baltimore/BWI. Dulles’s low temperature of 1 degree just missed the old record low of -2 degrees in 1979. Following a stretch of no subzero readings at Dulles from 1997 through 2013, two were recorded there last year, and they made a valiant effort today.
BWI’s low temperature reading of 1 degree surpassed the old record of 4 degrees in 1979. The last time it was below zero there was 1996. Additionally, record low maximums were set yesterday at Dulles with a 15 degree high and BWI with an 18 degree high.
More record low maximums are likely today.
Cold February days
This series of cold snaps continues to rise in the ranks of impressive. As CWG’s Matt Rogers suggested earlier this month, February is easily on track to be remembered as very cold, and potentially also snowy when all is said and done.
The 21 degree high yesterday at National Airport tied for the coldest this late in the season or later.
Remarkably, that also means only eight days have had a colder high this late in the season in the entire record for D.C. The most recent occurrence of colder was in 1934! Same goes for this morning’s low.
The 15 degrees at Dulles yesterday is the coldest high recorded this late in the season since the airport opened in 1962. BWI’s 18 degree reading came in at second all-time this late or later, dating back to the 1870s.
It’s possible these numbers could be challenged again today, particularly at BWI. Intense stuff, but it gets even more anomalous.
In a post mid-week, then again yesterday, we pointed out how unusual it was to get two days with such cold readings last Sunday and Monday. The gist: you need to go back decades to see it.
Then came round two. Yesterday’s high of 21 degrees in D.C. was just below the 22 degrees seen on the “warmest” of the super-cold days over Presidents Day weekend. Taking that 22 degree reading as a ceiling, we find this stretch is truly incredible.
Only 1885 has featured as many super-cold high temperatures as we’ve seen this year during mid-February through the end of the season. We’ve got another likely on the way today to put us over the top.
Looking at days 22 degree or colder highs for all of February through the end of winter, we’re set to fall behind just 1895 (five days with highs 22 or lower) and 1899 (six days with highs 22 or lower). The claim to fame of 1899 is that it featured the coldest weather D.C. has ever seen. It dropped a hard-to-believe all-time low of -15 on Feb. 11th.
Not quite that bad this go around, but we’ll remember it for a long time. - Washington Post.
The arctic conditions have turned a fountain at a state park in western New York into a five-story-tall "ice volcano."
'Ice volcano' forms at New York state park
The pressure-fed fountain is in a pond near the Glen Iris Inn at Letchworth State Park, which straddles the Wyoming-Livingston county line 40 miles south of Rochester. Days of subzero temperatures have formed a solid cone of ice several feet thick with water still spouting out of the top.
|Letchworth State Park on @GMA: ‘This frozen geyser in #WNY is quite incredible!’ @NYstateparks [PHOTO/JoBeth Rath] Twitter: NY State Parks|
|Photo via John Kucko|
|Photo by Rich Robinson/Glen Iris Inn|
Park officials tell local media that the formation dubbed an ice volcano is at least 50 feet high.
Winter is normally a quiet season for the park, known as the "Grand Canyon of the East" for its scenic gorges, but dozens of people are showing up daily to see the frozen wonder while it lasts. - MYFOXNY.
Great Lakes “likely to have the most ice since records began,” says meteorologist
|(Satellite photo of Lake Michigan from Thursday. Courtesy: NOAA)|
“Great Lakes ice is now running ahead of last year and ice will increase with more brutal cold coming,” says meteorologist Joe d’Aleo. “We are likely to have the most ice since records began.”
“By the end of February the entire country east of the Rockies will have averaged below normal,” says d’Aleo. “Boston will have either the coldest or second coldest month in their history. It is nearly 13F below normal in Cleveland and all points east for February. Boston has the second most snow for the season and is very likely to be the snowiest ever by the end of the winter. They blew away the all time monthly snow record by 18 inches and could end up with 6 feet if models are right in 1 month. Ice has clogged Delaware Bay and New York and Boston Harbors.”
“Ice is seen as far south as off the New Jersey Coast and will likely clog Boston and New York Harbor in the brutal cold of the next 10 days. Freezing spray warnings are in effect in the waters around NYC this morning.”
- Ice Age Now.
Record cold continues; next week could be colderCold weather records continue to fall across West Michigan and more brutal cold is on the way.
Friday morning’s low of -13 degrees in Grand Rapids tied the existing record low set in 1966. Hundreds of schools closed due to the extremely cold temperatures with wind chills colder than -20 degrees.
Thursday’s high of 7 degrees in Grand Rapids was a new record for the coldest high temperature for the date, and we’re already on pace for this to be one of the coldest February months ever.
We’ll briefly warm to the upper 20s on Saturday before plunging back into the deep freeze with more Arctic air next week.
WATCH: Bitter cold continues next week.
Lake Michigan is lagging behind the other four Great Lakes’ ice cover with 54% coverage. The Great Lakes’ total ice cover is 85% right now and expected to grow.
Another Arctic air mass is headed to West Michigan that could be just as cold or colder for the Great Lakes region next week.
Friday morning Storm Team 8 Meteorologist Matt Kirkwood tried a science experiment on the coldest morning of the season so far. He soaked an outfit in water and left it outside in the bitter cold for about an hour. Watch what happened next by clicking on the video player below or click here. - Wood TV.