Record Cold in the Northwest, Northern Plains Tonight

February 24, 2011; 3:22 PM ET
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As a storm hammers the Northwest with heavy snow, the area will be struck by brutal cold tonight into Friday.

The frigid air dipping into the region will set the stage for record-challenging low temperatures in a few cities.

The forecast low temperatures across the northern Rockies and northern Plains Thursday night into early Friday morning will be below zero in most places, with parts of northern Montana approaching 40 degrees below zero.

One of the coldest areas tonight will be Havre City, Mont., where the low temperature is forecast to drop near 40 degrees below zero, shattering the record for the date, which is 26 degrees below zero from 1994.

Another record-breaker for tonight is Billings, Mont., whose previous record is 10 degrees below zero, set in 1994.

Cloudy Seattle will likely beat the record of 25 degrees. Portland will also likely be breaking the record of 23 degrees set in 1969.

While tonight will be the biggest night for record-setting cold, a few records could also be challenged Friday night.

Temperatures will remain well below normal across the Northwest through Saturday, but they will begin to moderate farther east in the northern Plains starting Saturday, Meteorologist Heather Buchman said.

However, "there are signs of another possible snowstorm to hit the region, including coastal areas early next week," according to Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist at

Snow and low temperatures could create slick road surfaces, and the extreme cold could also be dangerous for outdoor activities.

To read more on the situation in the West, check out Western Expert Meteorologist Ken Clark's blog.


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