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Cold conditions continued to spread across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest on Thursday, while scattered snow showers persisted for the Great Lakes, Northeast, and Ohio River Valley.

A low pressure system and associated cold front that produced heavy rain and severe thunderstorms across the East Coast has moved offshore early on Thursday. However, the back side of this system created strong flow from the north, which picked up moisture from the Great Lakes and produced lake effect snow showers for the Great Lakes, Ohio River Valley, and Northeast.

Midday snowfall accumulation ranged from 2 to 5 inches across most areas, with up to a foot possible directly along the downwind shores. This also created more strong and damaging wind gusts for most of the Northeast with many reports of gusts over 60 mph.

Behind this system, a broad ridge of high pressure built over the Northern Plains and stretched southeastward through the center of the nation throughout the day. This forced cold air southward from Canada, and created bitterly cold temperatures across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest.

This also created a cold front that moved kicked up scattered snow showers over Kansas, Missouri, and into the Mid-Mississippi River Valley. As cold air poured into the Plains, high temperatures ranged from 20 to 40 degrees below seasonable. With strong and gusty winds, wind chill values dropped to 40 and 50 degrees below in the early morning hours.

In the West, scattered rain and high elevation snow showers continued for the Northwest as onshore flow from the Pacific Ocean continued. Snow showers reached over the Intermountain West and into the Northern Plains.

THURSDAY'S WEATHER EXTREMES:

HIGHEST TEMPERATURE (DEGREES F).........................78 Marathon, Fla.

HIGHEST HEAT INDEX (DEGREES F).......................... ,

LOWEST TEMPERATURE (DEGREES F)..........................-22 Crosby, N.D.

LOWEST WIND CHILL (DEGREES F)...........................-51 Garrison, N.D.

HIGHEST WIND GUST (MPH).................................105 Mt. Washington, N.H.

HIGHEST PRECIPITATION (INCHES)..........................2.72 Goldsboro, N.C.

ON THIS DATE....... Yesterday, the weather history spoke of extremely high temperatures in Great Falls, Mont., in 1989 ahead of a cold arctic air mass. Well, the cold air mass reached Great Falls, Mont., today in 1989 and dropped the temperature 85 degrees in just 36 hours. Wind chill readings fell to -80 degrees in Montana, and the extreme cold caused the brakes on a freight train to fail.

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