The US prepares for flooding as bitterly cold weather is replaced by a spell of mild weather leading to a rapid thaw.
A polar vortex has brought cold weather and springtime snow to parts of the northeast United States and Canada.
The stream of arctic air slipped south on Saturday, bringing the unusual weather. In many areas, snow flurries fell against a backdrop of sunny skies, green trees and flowers.
The US National Weather Service issued a freeze warning extending into early Sunday for most of the country’s northeast.
Parts of New Jersey woke up to a rather cold surprise on Saturday with a dusting of snow as temperatures in some areas of the US state dropped to below zero degrees Celsius.
Snow covered parts of the Sussex and Morris counties and even reached Central Park in New York City, a rare occurrence.
Snowfalls were last registered at this time of year in 1977, according to local media. The overnight low of 1C (33.8 degrees Fahrenheit) was also a daily record.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported significant snowfalls in upstate New York, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine while Vermont recorded 23 centimetres (nine inches) of snow.
At least 20 states were under wintry weather warnings or advisories on Saturday morning with the advisories stretching all the way down to South Carolina and Georgia.
The low temperatures are expected to last for much of the coming week before milder air begins to spread in from the south around Thursday.
It is a similar picture for central Canada with heavy snowfalls across southern Ontario. A frost advisory notice has been issued for the region, with authorities warning that “near or below-average temperatures” are expected right through into Wednesday.