Harry Enten uses the East Coast’s cold snap to look more broadly at climate data:
It’s important to remember that the last few days are a very small location and sample size. While the east is a tundra, Denver, Colorado is dealing with near-record highs with temperatures in the 60s. When we expand our look to over the past month, record high maximums and minimums are running 2 to 1 ahead of record low maximums and minimums in the United States. The United States’ average temperature in 2012 was 55.3F – 3.2F above the 20th-century average and 1F above the previous record, 1998. When you drill down to specific locations, there were 356 record-high maximum temperatures compared with only 22 low maximums – a 16 to 1 ratio – over the past year. There were 105 record-high minimum temperatures against only 4 low minimums – a 26 to 1 ratio.
(Hat tip: Mark Memmott)