The U.S. Is Facing a Record Cold Snap This Week

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An animation showing the misery index for North America. Looks pretty miserable.
Gif: Earth Wind Map

The Midwest woke up this week to weather colder than somewhere between Mars and a witch’s tit. Record-setting temperatures have already been recorded across the U.S. The chill will continue to push into the East Coast on Tuesday, raising the odds of more temperature records falling.

A powerful cold front has dropped out of Canada to start the week, bringing chilly air from the north as far south as Texas. The big freeze began on Monday as the cold air mass enveloped the Northern Rockies and Midwest. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures plummeted to minus-30 degrees Fahrenheit near Rudyard, Montana, the coldest spot in the U.S. on Monday. Daily record lows were also set in Turner, Montana (minus-21 degrees Fahrenheit), Chicago (13 degrees Fahrenheit), and St. Louis (16 degrees Fahrenheit).


The frigid weather widened its reach on Tuesday morning, dropping further south and east. Single digit lows abounded in Kansas and Missouri, including a number of new records. But the real shocking cold was in Texas. Waco set a record low bottoming out at 25 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday morning, about 22 degrees Fahrenheit below normal. An automated weather station in Brownsville, Texas—which sits on the U.S.-Mexico border right on the Gulf Coast—even reported snow, though the local National Weather Service office cast doubt on it.

Verifiable snow has fallen in a number of locations, though. Lake effect snow has cranked up in Buffalo where more than 10 inches has fallen. Detroit picked up 8.5 inches on Monday, making it the snowiest November day on record. And though it only received a little more than 3 inches, snow as well as ice in Chicago nearly caused a catastrophe when an American Airlines plane skidded off the runway while attempting to land at O’Hare on Monday morning (thankfully nobody was injured).


All told, the National Weather Service is forecasting 385 cold weather records could fall by Thursday as the cold front drives its way across the Eastern Seaboard. The chill comes almost a month after a big October blizzard slammed the Midwest. While the region has been abnormally cool of late, the planet has been boiling. Last month was the hottest October on record for the globe, and the Midwest was one of the only blue spots on the map.