Jesse Ferrell

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Record Cold Temps, South Ice Storm Chaos

January 30, 2014; 12:02 PM

Well, folks, the polar vortex is leaving the country this week, but as its last deed, it swamped the South with an ice and snow storm yesterday, then dropped temperatures to record levels this morning from New York to Florida. Heavy snow fell in northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia (see webcams from North Carolina beaches below and more pictures here), but that wasn't even the big story.


Thousands were trapped in school and on the roads as highways ground to a halt for nearly 24 hours, with travelers and accidents abounded in Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala.

Dozens of record lows were threatened or broken this morning (see map below). Here is a look at 7 a.m. temperatures today and a list of the lowest temperatures by state during the last three days:


- Garrett County, Md.: -27 (Source)
-Oswayo, Pa.: -23 (Wed.)
-Lisbon, Ohio: -22 (Tue.)
-Mount Washington, N.H.: -22 (Tue.)
-Cold Brook & Wilmington, N.Y.: -22 (Tue.)
-East Windsor, Mass.: -21 (Tue.)
-Mannington, W.Va.: -17 (Tue.)
-Cornwall Bridge, Conn.: -13 (Tue.)
-Wicomico River, Del.: -12

-Mount Leconte, Tenn.: -12 (Wed.)
-Childress, Va.: -11
-Jefferson, N.C.: -8
-Atlantic City, N.J.: -3
-Bowden, Ga.: -3
-Barfield, Ala.: -3

*Sources: NWS PNS/RER; Mesowest; CRONOS.

It's also notable that Ocean City, Md., fell to -9 this morning, owing to the fresh snow cover and calm winds there.

Above is a look at the polar vortex's effect on surface temperatures this morning, compared to the forecast model map that I posted last week (hover over the image). Note that it was even colder than expected in Europe, about equal here in the U.S., but different near the North Pole. Still, an impressive forecast from a week out. Now check out this comparison from Nov. 29, 2013, and yesterday -- note the areas shown at the arrows which are now iced over, including parts of the Chesapeake Bay, Susquehanna River and Long Island/New Jersey coasts (if you wonder what waves look like under ice, check out this video by blog reader Ralph).

Snow and ice fell in every Southeast state (radar) and in fact snow cover was observed in every state in the Continental U.S. except Missouri yesterday. Snow plows were plowing snow off bridges in the North Carolina Coastal Plain; the newspapers had a field day:

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About This Blog

Jesse Ferrell
Jesse Ferrell's WeatherMatrix blog covers extreme weather worldwide with a concentration on weather photos and Social Media.