After being buried with roughly 2 feet of snow Wednesday, outstandingly cold air pooled over parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas and neighboring states. Thursday morning was the coldest in recorded history for some areas.
At 7 a.m. CST, it was colder in northeastern Oklahoma than at the South Pole.
The Oklahoma Mesonet reported a low temperature of -31° F at Nowata, Okla. If this temperature is valid, it will be the new all-time record low for the state.
The previous all-time low temperature record for Oklahoma is -27° F.
In Bartlesville, Okla., a temperature of -28° F was recorded at the airport at 7:19 a.m. This temperature also beats the state record.
Elsewhere in the Bartlesville area, a temperature of -29° F was reported around 7 a.m.
As AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Eric Wanenchak pointed out, the temperature at the South Pole was -23° F at 7 a.m. CST Thursday morning. Therefore, parts of Oklahoma and Kansas were just as cold, if not colder.
For residents in Oklahoma City, Thursday morning was the coldest in decades with the temperature dropping to -5° F at Will Rogers World Airport. This breaks the record for the date, which was previously 4°, set in 1899 and 1929.
It's also the first time in 15 years that the temperature has dropped below zero in Oklahoma City. The last time was on Jan. 4, 1996 with a low of -3° F.
Thermometers read -23° F in Parsons, Kan., and -20°F at Arkansas Regional Airport, Ark., Thursday morning.
Fayetteville, Ark., got down to -18° F, shattering its record low for the date of 3° F from 1981.
While temperatures this extreme are fairly common farther north across the Plains in Montana, the Dakotas and Minnesota during winter, they are extremely rare for the southern Plains.
However, all ingredients for an extremely cold night came into play to allow for such a cold morning. AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity explained that arctic air came pouring in over fresh snow cover, while skies cleared and winds diminished.
He said these factors allowed for perfect radiational cooling and the extreme temperatures.
AccuWeather.com's Jesse Ferrell has more statistics on the cold Thursday morning in his blog.
The following are preliminary record low temperatures set or tied Thursday morning across the southern Plains and Southwest, with the previous record in parenthesis:
--Medicine Lodge, Kan.: -17° F (-15° F, 1899)
--Dodge City, Kan.: -10° F (-5° F, 1885, 1981)
--Ashland, Kan.: -20° F (-3° F, 1982)
--Ness City, Kan.: -18° F (-7° F, 2003)
--Liberal, Kan.: -8° F (-4° F, 1933)
--Bartlesville Airport, Okla.: -28° F (-13° F, 1929)*
--Oklahoma City, Okla.: -5° F (4° F, 1899, 1929)
--McAlester, Okla.: -4° F (10° F, 1981)
--Tulsa, Okla.: -12° F (-3° F, 1929)
--Fayetteville, Ark.: -18° F (3° F, 1981)
--Midland, Texas: 5° F (13° F, 1933)
--Austin - Camp Mabry, Texas: 19° F (21° F, 1929)
--Austin - Bergstrom, Texas: 19° F (23° F, 1973)
--Del Rio, Texas: 23° F (23° F, 1973)
--Alamosa, Colo.: -24° F (-19° F, 2004)
--Cottonwood, Ariz.: 17° F (23° F, 2001)
--Victoria, Texas: 24° F (24° F, 1973)
--Topeka, Kan.: -9° F (-8° F, 1982)
--Abilene, Texas: 11° F (11° F, 1933)
--San Angelo, Texas: 12° F (12° F, 1929)
--Corpus Christi, Texas: 26° F (27° F, 1929)
*Bartlesville Airport, Okla., broke its all-time record low of 25° below zero set on Jan. 22, 1930. This also breaks the state's all-time record low of 27° below zero, which was reached in 1905, 1930 and 1947 at various locations, according to Ferrell.
This image, courtesy of The National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center, shows snow cover across the southern Plains on Feb. 10, 2011. Most, if not all, of the snow fell from the storm that just pushed through Tuesday into Wednesday this week. The coldest spots this morning are the same locations that picked up the most snow from the storm.
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