The waves of cold, Canadian air washing over the eastern United States brought a record low to Athens this morning, breaking a low-temperature mark that stood for 117 years.

The official temperature in Athens sank to 20 degrees, breaking a record set in 1891, said Frank Taylor, spokesman for the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City.

The old record was 23 degrees, Taylor said.

The chill will ease slightly over the next couple of days, but overnight lows this weekend could drop back into the low to mid-20s as another mass of cold, dry air forces its way across the Southeast, the weather service said.

This afternoon's high is expected to reach 55, with a low tonight near the freezing mark. Lows early Saturday and Sunday could plunge back into the lower 20s, however.