Brutal Cold, Snow Setting Records Across Eastern U.S.

December 15, 2010; 7:52 AM ET
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Play video In this video, Climate Expert and Chief Long Range Forecaster Joe Bastardi talks about how close this December is to being in the top 5 coldest of the past 50 years.

Millions of people across the eastern half of the country are enduring the coldest air of the season thus far with brutal temperatures and wind extending all the way into the South.

Many places have also picked up record snow or the first measurable snow of the season in the last few days.

This record-setting arctic blast, which could be one of the worst of this entire winter for some places, has been an early visitor. Coming on the heels of another cold outbreak last week, temperatures are averaging 8 to 10 degrees below normal for the month in places such as Minneapolis, Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta, Orlando and Miami.

Tuesday night was another frigid one for the East with record-challenging lows dipping into the teens and 20s from Tennessee and the Carolinas into Florida. Farmers were forced again to stay up all night working to protect their fruit and vegetable crops.

Numerous records, some of which are more than 100 years old, fell throughout the Southeast Monday and Tuesday. In Norfolk, Va., the temperature only reached 28° Tuesday, setting a new record cold high that beat out the longstanding record of 29 from 1904.

Listed below are new record lows set or tied Tuesday with the previous record in parenthesis.

-Greenville, S.C.: 11° (11°/1917)

-Paducah, Ky.: 4° (6°/1985)

-Crossville, Tenn.: 4° (10°/1905)

-Lincoln, Ill.: -4° (-4°/1914)

-Roanoke, Va.: 10° (11°/1982)

-Jacksonville, Fla.: 20° (24°/1960)

-Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: 34° (34°/1962)

-West Palm Beach, Fla.: 32° (33°/1962)

-Key West, Fla.: 50° (50°/1962) RealFeel® temperatures, which provide a measure of how cold it feels with the wind factored in, have been even more brutal. These values have been below zero most of the last couple of days in Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, Buffalo and Pittsburgh.

Even all the way south into Atlanta, RealFeel® temperatures dropped below zero Monday and Tuesday morning.

The blizzard that opened the gates for the flood of arctic air into the eastern half of the country also brought record snow to many places. This news story has the details on records that were set across the Midwest and Southeast.

A farm worker is dressed for the cold as he packs lettuce onto a pallet at TKM-Bengard Farms in Belle Glade, Fla.,Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010. A cold front came through Florida bringing freezing temperatures. (AP Photo)

New York City picked up its first snow measuring more than a trace Monday night into Tuesday morning. Residents woke up to 1 to 3 inches of snow on the ground, while amounts up to 4 inches blanketed parts of Long Island.

The bitter cold was in full force in New York City as well with harsh winds bringing RealFeel® temperatures below zero Monday night.

The cold will gradually start to ease today through the end of the week, though temperatures will still generally remain below normal in the East through much of next week.

More people could see their first significant snowfall of the season by early next week with prospects for one or more snowstorms.


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