A cold snap set or tied records in at least 39 cities and 16 states from Wisconsin to Florida on Thursday, and up to 6 inches of snow covered Vermont's Green Mountains.
Forecasters at the National Weather Service said chilly winds swept across the Great Lakes from Canada and dropped temperatures to record levels ranging from 18 degrees at Elkins, W.Va., and Marquette, Mich., to 34 at Birmingham, Ala., and 38 in Tallahassee, Fla., and Wilmington, N.C.Up to 6 inches of snow covered Vermont's Green Mountains by sunrise, and forecasters said scattered snow showers continued through the morning over much of New England.
"The state Highway Department reported that most all of the Green Mountains, from Jay Peak in northern Orleans County south to the Bennington area in southern Bennington County, are snow-covered, and there are many icy areas," the National Weather Service said in Burlington, Vt.
The deepest snow - from 5 to 6 inches - was reported at Jay Peak, forecasters said.
The weather service said that by 9 a.m. EDT, at least 39 cities in 16 states across the eastern half of the country from the Canadian border to Florida set or tied record low temperatures.
Significantly, 34 of the 39 records involved temperatures at or below the freezing mark, as the overnight frost spread into Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolinas, as well as hitting the traditionally colder states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and West Virginia.
The weather service said a dome of high pressure from Canada, centered over Indiana, spread the frigid air.
The weather service forecast cold and rain Thursday for the Pacific Northwest, as well as most of northern New England.
Most of the rest of the nation will enjoy sunny skies with occasionally cold temperatures.