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Cold to Challenge Long-Standing March Record Lows in East

The same frigid air that helped to push a snowstorm south Sunday to Monday may bring the lowest temperatures on record for March to parts of the Midwest and East.

In the wake of the storm over the Plains, temperatures plunged 20 to 40 degrees in a few hours and reached the lowest levels ever recorded in March for some locations.

In Austin, Texas, the temperature on Sunday went from 72 degrees at 8:47 a.m. to 40 degrees at noon Central Time. In Houston, temperatures dropped from a Sunday afternoon high of 77 degrees to 28 degrees Monday morning.

Temperatures at Kansas City, Mo., plummeted to minus 3 F Monday morning, breaking the old all-time record low temperature for March of minus 1 F set in 1962.

After spending much of Sunday with temperatures in the 40s and 50s over the coastal mid-Atlantic, temperatures Monday morning had plummeted to the teens and lower 20s with snow. The cold will not stop there.

On Tuesday morning, temperatures may rival record lows set in the 1800s in parts of the mid-Atlantic.

Record Lows to be Challenged Tuesday Morning

City
Forecast Low/March Record Low (Degrees F)
Washington, D.C.
8/4 in 1873
Philadelphia
6/5 in 1872
New York City
10/3 in 1872
Richmond, Va.
6/10 in 2009
Pittsburgh
2/-1 in 1980
Baltimore
8/5 in 1873
Roanoke, Va.
11/9 in 1996

Many areas along the mid-Atlantic coast will start the day Tuesday in the single digits. Temperatures will dip to near or below zero over parts of the central Appalachians.

A moderating trend is forecast for much of the Central and Eastern states later this week. However, it will not mark the end of the colder-than-average weather.

Normal high temperatures for the middle of March are 46 degrees in Chicago, 50 in New York City and 56 in Washington, D.C.

There will be more days with high temperatures in the 40s and 50s compared to what has occurred in recent weeks in the Midwest and Northeast, and that will feel good to millions of people struggling with the cold and high heating bills this winter.

However, as normal temperatures trend upward through March, actual temperatures on a number of days will lag behind the normal trend by 5, 10 or more degrees in some cases. The higher-than-average demand for energy will continue into the spring.