Arctic blast brings freezing temperatures to Northeast and South

Freezing temperatures, strong winds batter US 2:45

A strong blast of freezing Arctic air is barreling across the Northeast and South, sending a chill through cities and towns that haven’t been struck by such a cold spell since last winter.

Temperatures plunged in parts of the Northeast, with some areas experiencing their first "festive" snow of the season, the Weather Channel said.

Swaths of New England and upstate New York saw temperatures in the teens — Saranac Lake, N.Y., reported in at 13 before sunrise — while New York City and Boston remained in the high 20s.

In the South, Nashville, Tenn., Charlotte, N.C., Little Rock, Ark., and Birmingham, Ala., all dipped into the high 20s, while Dallas, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia, remained in the 30s.

The cold front reached west from the Great Plains and the Dakotas to Colorado.

The chill also went south to Florida, although it had not yet gone as far south as Miami, according to the Weather Channel.

The cold front had actually stretched across a wider swath of the country Tuesday, when it covered almost two-thirds of the contiguous U.S.

Heavy snow fell Tuesday in Lower Michigan, where 14 inches of lake-effect snow came down over Berrien County.

The spell was caused by a dip in the jet stream. But the plummeting temperatures and chill will likely only be temporary, with temperatures returning back to normal toward the end of the week, according to the Weather Channel.

Workers at a construction site during the season's first snowfall in Wrightstown, N.J., Tuesday. Mel Evans / AP