There’s been a phenomenal spread (i.e. variation) in temps across the country Thursday and overnight. There has been 112-deg north/south spread in overnight low temps, from 35-below to 77-above.

The fresh new cover of snow across the Rockies, northern Plains and Upper Midwest is part of the reason arctic air has spread into that region of the country. Up to 22″ of new snow has fallen with this week’s multi-day snowstorm across the Upper Midwest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and 13 to 20″ has fallen in and around the Twin Cities.

The intense cold we see across the northern U.S. is a temporary incursion of bitterly cold air–but it’s led to an eye-catching north to south temperature variation across the Lower 48.

Overnight low temps dropped to 35-below in Blackfeet, Browning and Valier–all in Montana—compared to lows of 77-above in Marathon Key West, Florida. That’s a 112-deg north/south variation in temperature across the Lower 48.

Thursday temps smashed record highs and lows across the country, but record highs outnumbered record lows by a margin of six to one. In other words there were six times the number of record highs Thursday compared to the number of record lows across the continental U.S.

Little wonder a huge storm, like to one which produced our north and northwest suburban ice storm Wed and Wed night and huge multi-day snowfalls to our north and west–across the Rockies, Plains and Upper Midwest, developed in such an environment.

Full forecast details at the WGN Weather Center

Check out the global temp departures predicted Friday. The coldest air on the planet compared to recent historic norms is over sections of Canada and U.S.–even as steamy, unseasonably warm winter weather continues across a huge swath of the Eastern U.S.

Here’s how far from Feb 24th normals Friday’s predicted highs are to end up

Miami, Florida, for instance, is in the midst of its 3rd warmest winter of the past 86 years; Tampa is running the 8th warmest winter of that period and Orlando’s winter 2022-23 temps are running 5th warmest of the past 71 years according to data from NOAA’s Southeastern Regional Climate Center.

In Chicago Winter 2022-23 ranks 15th warmest to date of the past 153–today’s temporary chill notwithstanding. The meteorological/climatological winter season is running 3.5-deg above normal placing it among the milder 10% of winters on record here since 1871.