Temperatures in all 50 U.S. states dipped to freezing or below on Tuesday as an unseasonably cold blast of weather moved across the country, meteorologists said.
Some communities in the Northeast declared emergencies because of heavy snow, while Southern states braced for a record chill from the Arctic-born cold that swept the Rocky Mountains last week.
Every U.S. state, including Hawaii, was bitten by temperatures at the freezing point of 32 degrees F (0 C) or below, the National Weather Service said.
Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano, had low temperatures of 30 F (-1 C) to 32 F , said NWS spokeswoman Susan Buchanan.
The morning was the coldest overall across the country in November since 1976, according to Weather Bell Analytics, a meteorologist consulting firm. Typically, such cold is not seen until late December through February, the NWS said.
In western New York, a storm brought as much as 4 feet (1.2 meters) of snow to some areas and prompted officials to call states of emergency in three towns near Buffalo, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.
A 140-mile (225-km) stretch of the New York State Thruway along Lakes Erie and Ontario was closed because of the snow, according to Thruway Authority spokeswoman Christina Klepper.
Record-setting lows were expected in northern Florida by nightfall, with temperatures dipping below 20 degrees F (-7 C) around Tallahassee and in the Panhandle, said Amy Godsey, a meteorologist with the state Division of Emergency Management.
“I can’t stand it,” said Robin Roy, 53, shivering underneath a rainbow-colored poncho at an outdoor market in Gulfport, Florida. “I’ve never liked the cold.”
In predictably brisk Milwaukee, the mercury rose to a high of 20 degrees F (-7 C).
“You should embrace it,” said Markeyta Walker, 30, standing near a Milwaukee bus with her face wrapped in a thick scarf.
“Dress warm in layers and be happy,” she said.
Relief in the form of warmer temperatures was expected in much of the United States by the weekend, except for the Northern Rockies through the Great Plains and upper Midwest.
(Additional reporting by Letitia Stein in Gulfport, Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Ellen Wulfhorst in New York; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst, Doina Chiacu and Peter Cooney)