Coldest Temperatures of the Season May Break Records in the Northeast

By Linda Lam and Nick Wiltgen
We are tracking a second surge of arctic air that will keep the central and eastern United States shivering into the new week ahead.

The first surge of cold air spread from the Midwest to the East Coast. Another blast of frigid air is being pulled southward by Winter Storm Neptune, now over the Northeast.

Many locations have a chance to see their coldest weather of the winter. In fact, some could see the lowest temperatures in years.

Second Bitter Blast: Into Monday

Bangor, Maine experienced a daily record low temperature Saturday morning, when the thermometer dropped to 23 degrees below zero.

Sunday into Monday will bring the coldest temperatures of this extended cold snap to many in the Northeast. 

Buffalo, New York may see its coldest high temperature since 1994. At midnight Sunday, their high temperature was 3 degrees, and afternoon temperatures are forecast to stay near or below zero. A high temperature of 5 degrees or lower has not happened in the city since January of 1994.

Parts of the Catskills and Adirondacks in upstate New York may stay below zero all day Sunday.

In general, highs 20 to 30 degrees below average are expected Sunday across much of the Northeast, as far west as Michigan, Illinois and Missouri, and as far south as the Carolinas and Tennessee.

Low temperatures will not be particularly enjoyable, either. 

Sunday morning, widespread subzero lows were observed in much of the Great Lakes region. Detroit reached its lowest temperature of the winter, dipping to 8 degrees below zero. Buffalo, New York was at 6 degrees below zero as of 7 a.m. Sunday, making it the coldest low temperature there since January 2011.

Monday morning now looks to be the coldest morning for the Northeast Corridor, with lows in the single digits from Washington, D.C. to Boston . At this time, temperatures Monday morning are forecast to be the coldest so far this winter in New York City and Philadelphia.

Daily record lows will be threatened Monday morning in about 30 locations across the Northeast and Great Lakes as this reinforcing cold blast plunges southward. Below are a few of the cities where our current forecast low is close to the daily record shown in parenthesis. 

Monday: Baltimore (5) | New York City (1) | Toledo, Ohio (-8) | Syracuse, New York (-10)
Wind chills will also be a concern in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Wind chill warnings have been posted for much of the Northeast this weekend. Wind chill values, or what the temperatures feels like, will be well below zero at times in the Northeast, and that could make frostbite a concern. Farther south, wind chills could flirt with zero in parts of North Carolina.

Signs are also pointing to yet another blast of bitterly cold air for the Midwest, Northeast and South in the new week ahead.

First Bitter Blast: Through Friday

The first arctic plunge began to ooze into the northern Plains on Wednesday, where daytime highs did not rise out of the single digits in parts of North Dakota and northern Minnesota. In fact, Garrison, North Dakota's high on Wednesday only reached 9 degrees, and gusty northwesterly winds made the temperature feel as cold as 20 degrees below zero.

On Thursday morning, parts of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest saw subzero low temperatures. International Falls, Minnesota recorded a low temperature of 28 degrees below zero, which equals the coldest low temperature so far this winter in the city. Minneapolis dipped to three degrees below zero with a wind chill near 20 degrees below zero.

The cold continued in the Midwest and Great Lakes on Thursday, when thermometers failed to top 17 degrees in Chicago. This is a full 17 degrees below the average high for February 12.

The bitterly cold temperatures spread south and east on Friday. Watertown, New York dropped to 32 degrees below zero on Friday morning, setting a daily record low.

Highs were at least 10 degrees below average almost everywhere east of the Mississippi River on Friday, with highs 20 to 30 degrees below average over upstate New York and adjacent parts of neighboring states. High temperatures were only in the single digits and teens from the northern and eastern Great Lakes region to New England and areas in between, including much of northern Pennsylvania.

If you are hoping to escape the cold by heading to Florida on vacation this holiday weekend, unfortunately you will find chilly low temperatures, but at least it will be warmer than the Northeast.

On Friday morning even the Deep South felt the chill, as readings sank into the low 30s as far south as the Florida Panhandle and northern parts of the Florida Peninsula. Freeze warnings and hard freeze warnings were posted for northern portions of the Florida Peninsula and southeastern Georgia.

Although most of the Southeast saw a temperature rebound Saturday afternoon, a fast moving cold front ushered in a reinforcing blast of cold air Saturday night.

Meteorologists Jonathan Erdman and Chris Dolce contributed to this report.

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