Amid snowstorm, Tuesday registered coldest November morning since 1976

The snowstorm has hit the Buffalo, N.Y., area particularly hard, but much of the northern and eastern US has been affected. At the same time, temperatures are some 20 degrees below normal.

Carolyn Thompson/AP
A house is obscured by wind-blown, lake-effect snow on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 in Buffalo, N.Y. Parts of New York measured the season's first big snowfall in feet, rather than inches, as 3 feet of lake-effect snow blanketed the Buffalo area. White-out conditions caused by wind gusts of more than 30 mph forced the closure of Interstate 90 in both directions, from the Rochester area to Ripley on the Pennsylvania border, 60 miles southwest of Buffalo.

A snowstorm is dropping huge amounts of flakes in the northern and eastern parts of the United States, snarling air traffic. 

Temperatures are also drastically lower for this time of year. On Tuesday morning, the national average was 19.4 degrees F., according to forecasters. 

All 50 states have seen freezing temperatures, the National Weather Service reports. Tuesday, in fact, brought the coldest November morning since 1976, writes WeatherBell meteorologist Ryan Maue. Temperatures in recent days have fallen 10 degrees C (about 18 degrees F.) below normal, Dr. Maue says, adding that this is "more anomalous" than this past January, when the polar vortex brought frigid temperatures. 

According to flight-tracking service FlightAware, Tuesday has seen more than more than 3,000 flight delays and more than 500 cancellations, with a majority of cancellations occurring at Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York State, LaGuardia Airport in New York City, and Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

The Buffalo News reported that forecasters predicted local snowfall totals could be between 70 and 75 inches – about five or six feet. That's resulted in travel bans and school closures in parts of the region. 

"I think it's going to take many days to dig out [some parts]," Jon Hitchcock, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo, told The Buffalo News. 

Brian Krzeminski, who works at a Buffalo convenience store, has watched the snow pile up.

"There are people that came out to get a few things," he told the Associated Press. "We've had EMTs whose ambulance got stuck. I'm constantly seeing cars get stuck."

The snow that's blanketed sections of Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania is expected to stick in some places until Friday, says AccuWeather senior meteorologist Tom Kines, according to USA Today

But the amount of snowfall varies from location to location. "There are places that are getting 40 inches of snow, and five miles away they have a couple inches," Mr. Kines said. 

While the Lower 48 states have borne the brunt of a jet stream pattern that's funneled Arctic air southward, the jet stream has channeled relatively milder air toward Alaska, The Washington Post says. It notes that the average temperature of the Lower 48 Tuesday morning was roughly equivalent to Barrow, Alaska, the state's northernmost town. 

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