Millions of people in the eastern half of the U.S. woke Saturday to subfreezing temperatures and snow ahead of Mother’s Day this Sunday.
The arctic blast was set to engulf parts of the East Coast “with cold, gusty, and wintry conditions” all weekend as a storm system generates “showers, storms, and some snow from the Midwest to the Appalachians,” the National Weather Service forecast.
The extreme weather pattern is expected to bring frost to areas as far south as the Carolinas and lake-effect snow around some parts of Great Lakes until Sunday.
“Passing along a message from Mother Nature,” the National Weather Service in Binghamton, New York, tweeted alongside a photo of a car covered in light snow. “Happy Mother’s Day Weekend.”
The city in upstate New York reached record low temperatures of 24 degrees, “breaking the old record for May 9th of 27 degrees set in 1966.” The city of Syracuse, which is an hour North, reached “a record low temperature of 30 degrees,” the National Weather Service in Binghamton said.
Avoca, a borough in the state of Pennsylvania, broke its previous 1966 low temperature record after experiencing a 29-degree weather on Saturday morning.
The unsettling freezing temperatures and snow come as a surprise for many this late in the spring.
“It’s been 18 years since Chicago has dropped below freezing this late in the spring,” according to the Chicago National Weather Service which reported 31-degree temperatures on Saturday morning, breaking past 1980’s records.
The month of May has had the “exact same amount of snow as the month of February” for parts of New York City and New Jersey.
However, places like Islip, New York “officially had a snowier May than February,” according to the National Weather Service, which also reported that “light snow was observed” at the iconic Central Park in New York City.
The storm system first started moving into the Northeast on Friday — clashing with bitter cold Arctic air, courtesy of the polar vortex and bringing the potential for heavy, wet snow to the region. Heavy rain is also likely along the I-95 corridor this weekend.