Hundreds of record low temperatures are in jeopardy across the eastern two-thirds of the United States — and some have already been broken — as a robust wave of Arctic air brings dangerously cold conditions more reminiscent of mid-January than November.
The core of the cold first dipped down from Canada and into the far-northern Plains on Monday morning. Temperatures plummeted below zero in Great Falls, Montana, and Rapid City, South Dakota, early in the day after a blanket of snow fell in the region over the weekend.
“The cold will continue to shift south and east into Wednesday, finally encompassing more than half of the country,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys.
Monday night and early on Tuesday morning, places like the Upper Midwest through the middle Mississippi Valley are set to experience the coldest air so far this season.
Thermometers from Fargo, North Dakota, and Minneapolis to Chicago and Des Moines, Iowa, will show temperatures in the single digits late Monday night, as brisk winds help produce AccuWeather RealFeel™️ temperatures below zero.
Even during the day on Tuesday, it will feel like the teens from North Dakota and Minnesota through the Ohio Valley and parts of the Northeast.
With conditions this brutal, prolonged outdoor activities should be avoided.
A number of new record low temperatures for Nov. 12 have already been shattered as the cold air sinks farther south.
The temperature in Evansville, Indiana, reached 13 F on Tuesday, surpassing the old record low for the date of 17 from 1911. In Cape Girardeau, Missouri, the record of 17 F from 1976 fell by the wayside when the mercury reached 15.
Subzero cold was reported in several states. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a new record low of minus 6 was set in the city, breaking the old record of 5 F from 1986. Farther north, the mercury reached a brutal minus 13 in Hibbing, Minnesota, smashing the old record of minus 9 from 1966.
The cold snap brought an abrupt, if not jarring, temperature swing to many Americans more accustomed to far higher temperatures at this time of year. Some places saw Realfeel temperatures plunge as many as 60 degrees in just 24 hours. This phenomenon was particularly dramatic in Houston, where the temperature Monday topped out at 84 and by early Tuesday the Realfeel temperature had crashed to 18. The average high for Houston on November 12 is 74 F.
AccuWeather RealFeel Temperatures (F) tumbled from Texas to Ohio between Monday and Tuesday morning: https://t.co/vSU3LdNscY
Houston: 84F ➡️ 18F
Dallas: 63F ➡️ 3F
New Orleans: 85F ➡️ 28F
Nashville: 62F ➡️ 3F
Indianapolis: 37F ➡️ -10F
— AccuWeather (@breakingweather) November 12, 2019
As the Arctic air shifts farther east, temperatures will bottom out late Tuesday and early Wednesday across the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.
In fact, many major cities within the Northeast may set new record low temperatures on Wednesday morning.
Lows in the teens in cities like Detroit, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Albany, New York City, are more common for late December or January. In fact, New York City has a shot on Wednesday to break an all-time daily low record temp from the 19th century. On Nov. 13, 1873, the mercury fell to 22 F in the Big Apple. This week’s cold snap very well could shatter that record.
This cold will help any snow falling early in the week to stick around even longer. Locations that are not expected to get snow, along the immediate Northeast coast, could experience a rapid freeze-up, where puddles and wet spots become icy early on Wednesday.
Similar concerns will extend into the Southeast, where subfreezing temperatures will promote some slippery spots.
Those heading to school or work on Wednesday morning will want to dress warmly in heavier coats, as well as scarves and gloves.
Across the Deep South, another concern will be the killing frost for communities all the way to the Gulf Coast. Several cities across the South, like Houston, Jackson, Mississippi, and Birmingham, Alabama, could shatter daily temperature records set in the early 20th century.
The Arctic outbreak across much of the country is not expected to be long-lived.
A storm gathering in the Gulf of Mexico will help to usher in milder air across the Southeast late in the week; however, temperatures will likely still be held at below-normal levels for mid-November.