AccuWeather reports after being buried with roughly 2 feet of snow Wednesday, outstandingly cold air has pooled over parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas and neighboring states. At 7 a.m. CST this morning, it was colder in northeastern Oklahoma than at the South Pole.
In Bartlesville, Okla., a temperature of 28° below zero was recorded at 7:19 a.m. If this temperature is valid, it will make this morning the coldest in recorded history for the state. Elsewhere in the Bartlesville area, a temperature of 29° below zero was reported around 7 a.m. The previous all-time low temperature record for Oklahoma, according to the National Climatic Data Center, is 27° below zero.
As AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Eric Wanenchak pointed out, the temperature at the South Pole was 23° below zero at 7 a.m. CST this morning. Therefore, parts of Oklahoma and Kansas were just as cold as, if not colder than, the South Pole.
For residents in Oklahoma City, this morning was the coldest in decades with the temperature dropping to 5° below zero at Will Rogers World Airport. This breaks the record for the date, which was previously 4°, set in 1929.
It’s also the first time in 15 years that the temperature has dropped below zero in Oklahoma City. The last time was on Jan. 4, 1996 with a low of 3° below zero.
Thermometers read 23° below zero in Parsons, Kan., and 20° below zero at Arkansas Regional Airport, Ark., this morning.
Fayetteville, Ark., got down to 18° below zero, shattering its record low for the date of 3° from 1981.
While temperatures this extreme are fairly common farther north across the Plains in Montana, the Dakotas and Minnesota during winter, they are extremely rare for the southern Plains.
However, all ingredients for an extremely cold night came into play to allow for such a cold morning. AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity explained that arctic air came pouring in over fresh snow cover, while skies cleared and winds diminished.
He said these factors allowed for perfect radiational cooling and the extreme temperatures.