Brutal cold with miserable wind-chill conditions ushered in winter Friday across the West, but more summerlike weather occurred in the South, where tornadoes and severe thunderstorms bashed the region.
Records for cold weather and rainfall were set as fall drew to a close, and at least one death was blamed on the freezing temperatures that have combined with snow and icy winds to make for dangerous conditions.Record low temperatures were set from California to Nebraska, and Denver tied the record low for Thursday at minus 16 degrees and set a record for the coldest high temperature for the date when the mercury reached only minus 3 degrees.
Eugene, Ore., had a low of 8 degrees, and the day's high temperature was still 1 degree lower than the previous record low temperature. Another record was set the moment the day began Friday with the thermometer standing at 14 degrees.
Light snow fell across Wyoming and frigid conditions continued with temperatures between minus 25 and minus 45 degrees with wind chills down to minus 70 degrees.
Seattle police said Thursday a man was found, apparently frozen to death, beneath a downtown viaduct, an area frequented by transients.
"It was probably the weather that got him," said a police spokesman.
While the West froze, thunderstorms and tornadoes made it seem like summer in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.
Tornado watches were up throughout the region and twisters were reported in or near the Mississippi communities of Crystal Springs, Jackson, Raymond, Macon and Florence, the National Weather Service said. Winds damaged trees near Barlow, Miss.
The Midwest had its own problems with water as the cold weather began to move into the region with freezing rain reported in western Illinois and flood watches up for Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.