Washington: The arctic blast that descended this week on a swath of the country stretching from the Rocky Mountains to New England continued on Tuesday, bringing record-breaking low temperatures, snowfall in some Northeast areas and school closings in the mid-South.
Record cold continued to spread from the Plains toward the East Coast, the National Weather Service Prediction Centre said on Tuesday morning. Early-season snows across western to northern New York and northern New England will taper off on Tuesday.
The air mass, which led to more than 1,000 flight cancellations, is expected to break more than 150 daily-temperature records across the eastern half of the country over the next two days.
It is expected to reach -18 degrees Celsius in Sioux City, Iowa, and -3 degrees Celsius in Greenwood, Mississippi, on Tuesday. On Wednesday, temperatures in Austin, Texas, Houston and New Orleans are expected to dip to -6 Celsius, the Weather Service said on Twitter. Additional snow accumulation is expected through the day.
The National Weather Service in Indianapolis said on Twitter that Tuesday morning’s frigid temperature at -13 degrees Celsius set the record for the coldest temperature this early in the season.
Low temperatures Tuesday morning in Tennessee and Arkansas also prompted school closings and delayed openings in several counties, according to local reports. The wind chills in the Memphis, Tennessee, area on Tuesday are expected to be -12 Celsius.
Temperatures on Tuesday afternoon in Toronto were at -6 degrees Celsius, according to the Canadian government. Snow flurries were predicted for the city as temperatures were expected to fall to -10 degrees Celsius by late Tuesday. Montreal was expected to have similar temperatures throughout the day.
Quebec, which is under a winter storm warning, was expected to see up to 4 inches of snowfall by Tuesday evening.
In the United States, temperatures plunged to record-breaking lows or tied with existing records in several areas in the Great Plains on Monday, according to Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Northern Montana reached -28 degrees Celsius, beating the previous daily temperature record by 3 degrees, he said.
The cold front is expected to stretch from the Southern Plains to the Ohio River Valley on Tuesday, and by Wednesday, it will shift to the Gulf and East coasts, said Alex Lamers, another meteorologist with the Weather Service.
Snowfall could measure up to 1 foot in the Northeast, with the greatest amounts in the Adirondacks, the Green Mountains of Vermont and northern Maine, according to the Weather Service. Many schools, including in the Detroit and St Louis areas, closed early Monday and cancelled classes Tuesday, according to local television stations.
The weather also affected road conditions.
In Kansas, an eight-year-old girl was killed Monday after a truck lost control on the icy highway, crossed the centre line and hit her vehicle head on, causing another car to rear-end it, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol’s online crash log.
Three people in Michigan were killed in a two-vehicle crash caused by poor road conditions, the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
A plane slid off an icy runway after landing at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Monday morning. None of the 38 passengers or three crew members were injured, according to an American Airlines spokeswoman.
More than 1,000 flights were cancelled at Chicago’s airports Monday, according to the city’s Department of Aviation.
The air mass formed over the Arctic Ocean late last week, dipped south through Canada over the weekend and spread southeast across the United States, Lamers said.
The arctic front arrived around Monday, which was Veterans Day, prompting some event organisers to make new plans.
The low temperatures Monday night were particularly concerning in Wyoming, where officials were still searching for a 16-year-old autistic boy who vanished the day before, wearing only his pyjamas and a hooded sweatshirt. Law enforcement have been using canine teams, helicopters and certified human trackers, according to the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office.
Lamers said temperatures should start to rise after Wednesday.
“It’s not uncommon to get the first significant surge of arctic air in November, but it is unusual how far south it’s getting — with potential freezes in the Gulf of Mexico,” he said.