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Weekly wrap-up: Frigid air invades eastern US; El Nino-driven storms unleash flooding in California

Frigid air gripped the East this week, bringing the coldest conditions of the season and some of the lowest temperatures since early in 2015.

Temperatures fell below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for the first time this season in New York City on Monday morning, the latest date on record for such an occurrence. The city's previous record for the latest date for temperatures to drop below freezing was Dec. 22, 1998.

On Tuesday, New York City (11 F), Philadelphia (12 F), Boston (8 F), Pittsburgh (7 F) and Washington, D.C., (16 F), all recorded their lowest temperatures of the season. However, those temperatures were nowhere near as extreme as Saranac Lake, New York, which recorded a low of minus 22 F.

Lamborghini barely makes it through California floodwaters

Considering the dangers of the brutal cold, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order that would seek to force homeless into shelters.

Wintry weather pervaded through much of the West Coast as a train of El Niño-enhanced storms unleashed relentless rain and mountain snow.

California was hit especially hard as heavy rains caused street flooding and mudslides in the south, while heavy snow impacted mountain travel in the northern part of the state.

Multiple tornadoes were also reported. An EF0 tornado touched down in San Benito County, California, causing intermittent damage along a 1-mile path. A tornado also touched down in Orange County, California, leaving one home was damaged.

Due to the flooding, many roads were closed across southern California, including Interstate 5 just north of Los Angeles.

In downtown San Francisco, 2.64 inches of rain has fallen so far this year, which is the city's best start to the year since 2008. With 2 inches of rain, Sacramento is also off to its best start since 2008.

On Thursday, Tropical Storm Pali formed 1,500 miles southwest of Hawaii, making it the earliest on record that a tropical storm has formed in the central Pacific basin.

"Unusually warm waters in both the Atlantic and the central Pacific are likely contributing to the development of tropical systems during the middle of the winter," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said.

Several AccuWeather meteorologists and staff writers contributed content to this article.


Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Kevin Byrne at Kevin.Byrne@accuweather.com, follow him on Twitter at @Accu_Kevin. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook and Google+.