A wintry weather pattern that brought single-digit temperatures and more than a foot of snow to parts of the Upper Midwest was rolling across a wide swath of the nation Monday, threatening to break hundreds of records and bring a deep freeze as far south as Alabama.
“The coldest surge of arctic air so far this season will bring widespread record low temperatures for much of the central and eastern U.S. even down to the Gulf Coast,” said Kwan-Yin Kong, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center.
Parts of Michigan already were overwhelmed with more than a foot of snow Monday – and some areas could see more than two feet before the snow ends Tuesday, AccuWeather said. As far south as Oklahoma, freezing temperatures and freezing rain normally reserved for the middle of winter were making their debut more than two weeks before Thanksgiving.
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“Cold front continues to surge through OK, with post-frontal gusts of 35-50 mph,” the National Weather Service warned in a tweet. “The freezing line is slowly creeping into northeast OK.”
Record lows are expected across the South and Midwest on Tuesday, when parts of Texas could drop to 16 degrees. Cities in Texas and Louisiana were predicted to reach highs in the mid-40s, breaking long-standing records.
AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said the calendar will say mid-November, but the temperatures will scream mid-January across much of the nation, starting Monday in the Upper Midwest and slowly sliding south and east.
“Monday will be worst in the Upper Midwest, Wisconsin the Dakotas,” Pydynowski told USA TODAY. “Highs in the teens, lows in single digits. But they laugh at that in Fargo.”
By Tuesday, record cold is possible in the Northeast, Ohio Valley and portions of the South. The cold will sweep into the southern Plains and Ohio Valley. People living in parts of the Texas Panhandle up to Tulsa, Oklahoma, should allow extra time for the Monday morning commute to allow for icy, slippery conditions, AccuWeather warned.
The high Tuesday in Dallas is forecast for 44 degrees – 24 degrees below average for the date. By Tuesday night, Dallas is forecast for a low of 22 degrees. The record for the date is 21 degrees.
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Monday’s high in Brownsville, Texas, was forecast for 82 degrees – double Tuesday’s forecast high of 41 degrees.
By Wednesday the coldest temps drift east. Boston down to Washington, D.C., will challenge record lows for the date.
“We expect a swath of higher snowfall totals from central New York to northern Maine, where accumulations could climb into the double digits,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Courtney Travis.
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The cold will dip deep into the South. Highs may get only into the 30s as far south as Alabama.
“It’s going to be cold and breezy through the rest of Tuesday. Make sure you’re ready for the ~30 degree temperature drop!” the weather service in Birmingham tweeted. “Nighttime lows will be in the low-mid 20s with some pockets of upper 10s.”