WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The nation's capital on Friday broke a cold record that stood for the entire 20th century, plus 20 years, and the Great Lakes are perhaps looking at the most ice they've ever had, forecasters say.
The Washington Post reported Friday's low of 5 degrees is the coldest Feb. 20 since 1896, when the city recorded a low of 8 degrees. The district, as well as much of the Northeast, has been plunged into an arctic freeze for weeks now and forecasters expect more to come.
Washington is typically one of the warmest places in the region during wintertime, too, which is why record cold is surprising -- and has been unseen for 120 years. Thursday night, the Post said, Washington experienced one of its coldest nights in recent memory.
The city had already broken other weather marks earlier this week and Thursday's high of 22 degrees was the coldest this late in the year since the 1940s. In fact, Washington has recorded highs of under 22 degrees four days so far this month, breaking a record that dates back to the 1800s.
Friday's low was also colder than that of any temperature recorded (6 degrees) last winter. Only eight days have been colder this late in the season in Washington's entire history -- the most recent occurrence in 1934.
Further, you would have to go all the way back to 1895 to find a D.C. winter that has had as many record cold days as this year's has.
But Washington, D.C. isn't the only place breaking records. The Great Lakes are accumulating ice at a pace that will set a new all-time record.
"Great Lakes ice is now running ahead of last year and ice will increase with more brutal cold coming," meteorologist Joe d'Aleo said, according to weather website Ice Age Now. "We are likely to have the most ice since records began."
Forecasters expect more cold to come, and probably more broken records.
"By the end of February the entire country east of the Rockies will have averaged below normal," d'Aleo said. "Boston will have either the coldest or second coldest month in their history."
CNN reported Friday that at least 23 people have died so far due to the extreme cold -- the majority of them, 18, in Tennessee.
Meanwhile, the Southwest United States continues to experience a winter far warmer than normal in some places. Salt Lake City has already recorded record warm temperatures this winter and has received far less snow than usual.