Arctic Cold Front Is Sweeping Through the U.S. Bringing Record Cold Temperatures and Snowfall

An Arctic cold snap is sweeping through the United States bringing record-breaking cold temperatures and snow to a wide area stretch from the Great Plains all the way to the East Coast.

According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a blanket of snow is covering around 30 percent of the Lower 48 states.

The arctic air mass which has rolled in from Siberia has caused temperature records to fall in dozens of locations across a large portion of the country. And the cold front is expected to persist further into the week, according to the National Weather Service (NWS.)

"An early blast of cold arctic air will consume much of the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. over the next few days, making it feel like the middle of winter," an NWS statement read. "Numerous record lows and record low maximum temperatures are expected through Wednesday, as temperatures average 20 to 30 degrees below normal.

"The intensity of this arctic outbreak is comparable to the 'Blue Norther' of 1911 in which much of the Plains eastward to the East Coast saw record cold temperatures in the teens and 20s shortly after record warm temperatures of near 80 degrees were observed on the same day! The expansive high pressure system associated with the current arctic outbreak will begin to move east of New England on Thursday," the statement read.

According to the NWS, temperatures will start to rise during the day on Thursday after another morning of record cold for some locations stretching from the Mid-Atlantic coast to New England.

Among some of the records set on Tuesday morning, minus 6 degrees was measured in Cedar Rapids, Iowa—the coldest temperature on record for this location so early in the season, The Washington Post reported.

Meanwhile, the city of Chicago broke consecutive daily records on Monday night and Tuesday morning, with lows of 13 and 7 degrees respectively measured at O'Hare Airport, NBC Chicago reported. Freezing temperature were even recorded as far south as the Texas Gulf coast.

snow, Chicago
Snow covers bicycles in the Bucktown neighborhood on November 11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Forecasters are calling for three to six inches of snow to fall in the Chicago area by mid-day today and temperatures are expected to fall to around ten degrees Fahrenheit by tomorrow. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Some areas of the Northeast and Great Lakes have also experienced record-breaking snowfall. For example, Buffalo in New York saw around nine inches of snow, breaking a record set in 1942. Meanwhile, parts of northern Michigan experienced more than 30 inches, CBS News reported.

More snow is also expected in the coming days, according to the National Weather Service.

"An upper-level disturbance rapidly moving across the northern Rockies this morning will spread rain and snow eastward from the northern Rockies through the upper Midwest today," an NWS statement read. "The lake-effect snows currently across the Great Lakes will become more widespread by tonight as the area of snow from the upper Midwest arrives."

"The frontal system associated with this disturbance is on the weak side, and the wet snow should move farther east across the lower Great Lakes and northern New England by Thursday night. A secondary cold front will then approach the upper Great Lakes Friday morning, bringing a renewed round of snow into the region," the statement read.

At least five people have died in road accidents linked to icy or snowy conditions, according to CBS News. A plane at O'Hare also slid off a runway on Monday after a landing gear snapped, although no one onboard was injured. More than 1,000 flights have been cancelled at O'Hare and Chicago's Midway Airport as a result of the snowy conditions.