Current Wind Chills
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.
At least 72 daily record lows were 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, 647 record lows were tied or broken Sunday through Thursday. This figure includes not only major airport reporting stations, but also smaller cooperative observation sites in rural areas.
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.
Toledo, Ohio, also broke its all-time February record low as it sank to 19 below zero. Youngstown, Ohio, tied its February record low of 16 below set Feb. 9, 1934.
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.
Pittsburgh hit 10 below; the city has never before hit double digits below zero this late in the winter.
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. However, it missed the daily record for Feb. 20 by 1 degree.
– Lexington, Kentucky, also had its coldest morning since that date.
– Huntington, West Virginia, reached 16 below zero for the first time since Jan. 19, 1994.
– Washington, D.C., hit 5 degrees for the first time since Feb. 5, 1996.
– Charleston, West Virginia, reached 11 below zero, its coldest reading since February 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.
Rochester fell to -11ºF just before midnight on Friday evening. It is Rochester’s coldest temperature since hitting -12ºF on Jan. 10, 2004. It’s also the latest double-digit-below-zero reading (-10ºF or colder) on record in Rochester. The previous latest date was Feb. 18 in 1979.
Florida chill: Florida was not exempt from the cold. Record lows for the date included Key West (49); 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
Saturday: Below-average temperatures will continue in much of the Midwest and Northeast, but temperatures will be warmer than on Friday for most.
Chilly temperatures started Saturday with record low temperatures broken again in the Northeast. A few of the record lows set on Saturday morning:
– Hartford dropped to 9 degrees below zero
– Albany reached 10 degrees below zero
– Providence tumbled to 5 degrees below zero
– Baltimore dropped to 2 degrees
– Atlantic City reached 6 degrees below zero
Forecast Highs Saturday
Recap: Records Broken Midweek
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.
The high of 5 below zero at Gaylord, Michigan, was the coldest daily high ever recorded on any date in that northern Michigan town.
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”.