March sadness: Freezing cold for 220 million Americans, another big storm to blast California

While the main weather story Sunday and early Monday was the deadly and violent tornado outbreak in the South, the other big weather news was the ongoing record cold that’s spreading across the central and eastern U.S.

How cold? Some 189 million Americans awoke to temperatures that were at or below freezing Monday morning, meteorologist Ryan Maue said. And some 220 million will shiver with similar freezing temperatures Tuesday morning.

“Highs on Tuesday and Wednesday are expected to be roughly 15 to 30 degrees below early March averages for most locations east of the Rocky Mountains,” the National Weather Service said.

The storm contributed to the death of two teens in a single-car accident Sunday evening in the Philadelphia area, authorities reported.

This morning in northern Maine, a small regional jet slid off a runway at Presque Island International Airport. Three passengers and the pilot suffered minor injuries.

On Monday, dozens of record lows were set all the way from Washington state to Texas.

The temperature bottomed out at 46 degrees below zero at Elk Park, Montana, Monday morning, which was likely a new all-time March low for the entire state of Montana, the National Weather Service in Great Falls said.

Temperatures across the state in many cases were as much as 50 degrees below the early March average.

Wind chills were also unimaginably cold across the northern Plains, dipping to almost 60 below zero in some spots.

Maue also said that the temperatures in Texas on Monday were record cool for early March.

The cold, though less intense, will spill toward the East Coast and Southeast on Tuesday. A few records are again possible.

When this freakish cold spell is done, several hundred new record-low temperatures will have fallen, according to Capital Weather Gang meteorologist Ian Livingston.

Due to the cold, the snow that hit the Northeast Sunday and Monday will stick around for a few days. Boston saw about 10 inches of snow, but parts of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts saw up to 16 inches, according to the National Weather Service.