Thermometers sank to record lows Wednesday across the eastern third of the nation, with frost all the way south into Alabama, and apple and peach crops in New Jersey and West Virginia were nipped in the bud.
Record or record-tying lows for the date were reported in more than three dozen cities, from Boston (26) south to Jacksonville, Fla., (37) and Meridian, Miss., (33), the National Weather Service said. For some cities, it was the coldest for any April day on record.
Elkins, W. Va., in the Appalachians, registered 3 degrees, which was 15 degrees below the previous record for the date--set in 1900--and a record for the month since record-keeping began in 1899. It was also the coldest spot in the 48 contiguous states.
Elkins residents say that the mountain city has just two seasons--winter and the Fourth of July--and motel owner Russ Swecker said Wednesday of his garden: "My rule is, don't plant until June 1."
Other records were tied or broken, with temperatures mostly in the teens and 20s, in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia.