At least 24 daily record low temperatures were tied or broken on Thursday. Cotton, Minnesota was one of the coldest spots in the country as the mercury dipped to 41 below zero.

The bitter chill followed a snow pattern that besieged the Northeast for several days.

Josh Buettner reports.


Before the Yule logs were burned up this week, a cold snap gripped the nation from Maine to the Dakotas and points beyond.

Man – No Name Provided/Massachusetts: “Merry Christmas.  Can you come over and help me shovel?”

Blizzard warnings were in effect across New England, where first responders in Vermont cooled on public reaction.

Josh Kirtlinka/Firefighter – Burlington, VT: “The alarm sounded within the building – multiple people chose not to evacuate.  I get that it’s cold.  It’s a hardship to leave.  We understand that.  Whether you think it’s real or not when the alarm sounds quickly get out.”

In neighboring New Hampshire, a record-breaking negative 34 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded atop Mount Washington, the state’s highest peak - where observatory officials illustrated how quickly boiling water becomes snow in frigid, hurricane-force winds.

Several other areas of of the northeast were blanketed by snowfall.  Erie, Pennsylvania saw a record 53 inches early in the week.

Kim Howell/Erie, Pennsylvania: “All I could do was laugh.  It’s a little ridiculous but, I keep pecking away at it, and we’ll get it cleared.”

Lake Erie’s infamous lake effect had its way with Buffalo, New York once again, as road crews kicked into overdrive.

Mark Mallick/Buffalo, New York: “Today we’ll be out 10-15 hours easily.”

An Arctic blast on the shores of Lake Michigan shuttered holiday plans in the Windy City as well.

Callie Hill/Chicago, Illinois: “The girls wanted to go ice skating, and we tried, but it’s really cold.  It’s freezing.”

And the Pacific Northwest downed an abominable local brew of snow and freezing rain - icing up roads and causing dozes of crashes around Portland and Seattle on Christmas Day.

Raul Rubalcava/Cascade Locks, Oregon: “I came along and lost control, did a 360, hit a car on the next lane and ended up here.”

And in the upper Midwest, abysmal minus 16 degree-cold kept North Dakota residents indoors, while more cold temperature records also were shattered next door in Minnesota.

Short-term forecasts from the National Weather Service predict more of the same, with additional precipitation encroaching on the Gulf.  And with a shallow cold airmass already in place, authorities say some southeastern states could join the rest of the country with freezing rain and snow to help ring in the New Year.

For Market to Market, I’m Josh Buettner. @mtmjosh