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A record-breaking cold snap that has made this the most frigid start in memory for October has people scrambling to winterize home, car and self.
"This really has never that happened in the time that most people have been here, so it's really remarkable," said National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Solum.
In Billings, record lows were set each of the last three days, while on Friday a low temperature of 18 degrees tied the record from 1993. Each consecutive low has been more frigid still, with Saturday bringing a record of 16 degrees; Sunday, 14 degrees; and Monday, 13 degrees.
The record-breaking streak ended Tuesday morning, with a low of 25 degrees. The record cold for Oct. 13 is 20 degrees, set in 1969.
The biting cold has people scurrying to amass winter gear.
"We see a lot of farm and ranch clients, and they're usually out working, so, when it gets cold, they can't work and they start coming to town and shopping," said Nancy Reichert, assistant manager at Shipton's Big R.
A surge in demand at Shipton's for insulated bib overalls and jeans, thick Carhartt jackets and ice scrapers always follows the first temperature dip, but this year the dip has come earlier than usual.
According to the National Weather Service, Oct. 28 is the earliest date that temperatures of 16 or lower have hit Billings in the past. October's start is turning out to be the coldest ever, with an average daily temperature that is almost 6 degrees lower than previous benchmarks.