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November-like chill places 100 million people under frost and freeze alerts

NBC News 10/19/2022 Kathryn Prociv
© Provided by NBC News

On Wednesday morning more than 100 million people woke up under frost advisories, freeze watches and warnings on what was expected to be the coldest morning of the week for the South and the coldest temperatures for most since last spring.

Due to the cold airmass plunging south before expanding east, southern cities actually woke up colder than northern cities. Dallas was colder than Boston, and Atlanta was colder than Cleveland.

For the first time on record, Birmingham, Alabama, hit 32 degrees before Billings, Montana, beating that notoriously cold city to the first official freeze of the season.

New York's Central Park dipped to 42 degrees, which was the coldest temperature since April 29 and Charlotte's 30-degree reading set their fifth earliest freeze on record.

Most of the cold alerts expire by mid-morning on Wednesday, but some will linger through Thursday morning, especially across the Ohio Valley, Gulf Coast and Southeast Coast.

Thanks to temperatures 10 to 20 degrees below average, approximately 50 record lows were forecast to break Wednesday morning. High temperatures Wednesday are also expected to remain below average, leading to a chilly afternoon feeling more like November than mid-October.

This cold air mass was also responsible for the first snow of the season across the Great Lakes and Midwest. For many locations, the early season snow was also record-setting.

There were 18 inches in Marquette, Michigan, which shattered their record for the highest two-day snow in the month of October. They typically average just over 5 inches of snow in October.

The snow that fell in Madison, Wisconsin, this week was their earliest first snow in more than 30 years. Their average first measurable snowfall is on November 11.

While not record-setting, add Chicago to the list of places that recorded the first measurable snow of the season this week.

This cold snap will be short-lived, with temperatures expected to rebound beginning Friday and lasting into next week. That will mean back to the 80s for highs across Texas with afternoons soaring into the 70s for cities in the Mid-Atlantic like Washington.

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