If you're viewing this show from the eastern United States, you already know what we're starting with. Arctic air has blown in and shattered records all over the country. Meteorologists say roughly 70 percent of the U.S. population, around 240 million people woke up to subfreezing temperatures on Wednesday morning. From the Great Plains to the Midwest to the Eastern seaboard and the American south, the Weather Channel says more than 300 records have been set for cold temperatures this week.
They range from below zero measurements in Nebraska and Iowa to single digit temperatures in parts of Texas, North Carolina and Vermont. It's not that it's never been this cold before in these places. It's that since record keeping began in the 1800s', scientists say it's never been this cold this early in the season. We're still 37 days from the official start of winter. Hundreds of flights headed into and out of Chicago were cancelled because of dangerous conditions. Snow has been in the forecast from Colorado to Maine and while things are supposed to warm up a bit as the week goes on, forecasters say temperatures will still be 10 to 20 degrees below average.
The National Weather Service compared this artic blast to an event from 1911 called "The Great Blue Norther". That cold front also hit in November and it caused incredible drops in the temperature with places like Oklahoma City plunging from 83 degrees in the afternoon to 17 degrees that night. On Tuesday morning 108 years later, it was 16 degrees in Oklahoma City.