Arctic cyclone hits northeastern US, threatening record-breaking frost
A powerful Arctic cyclone literally hit the northeastern U.S. on Friday, dropping temperatures to record lows everywhere. Mount Washington in New Hampshire could get as cold as -110 degrees Fahrenheit, wind-adjusted temperatures, forecasters said.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a mass of cold air will keep temperatures at life-threatening levels throughout Saturday. The service warns of “extremely hazardous” health conditions due to its “short-term drop.”
School districts in Boston and Worcester, two of New England’s largest cities, announced school closures Friday because of concerns about the risk of hypothermia and frostbite in children.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu declared a state of emergency through Sunday and opened warming centers to help the city’s more than 650,000 residents cope with what the NWS warned could turn into a “once-in-a-generation cold front.”
Early Friday morning, a core of cold air mass pushed from Arctic Canada into the United States by high-altitude air currents appeared to be concentrated over the U.S. plains, weather service forecaster Bob Oravek said.
International Falls, Minnesota, was the coldest place in the continental U.S. as of Friday morning, Feb. 3, when temperatures there hovered around -36 F.
According to the meteorologist, “the dryness of the air means there will be limited snowfall.”
“It’s moving toward the northeast, and temperatures will drop all day Friday,” he added.
Temperatures are expected to drop to a record low of -50 F late Friday night on the Northeast’s highest peak, Mount Washington, the New Hampshire Park Service said. By comparison, temperatures in Eureka, Canada’s northernmost Arctic weather station, hovered at -41 F Friday morning.
In cold Biddeford, Maine, about 95 miles north of Boston, Kathy Pinard, owner of a coffee shop and bookstore, said business was brisk as customers hid at her place from the cold and some even preferred to work by staying in her store.
“Yes, we ‘Mainers’ (state residents) are pretty hardy, but talk to me tomorrow and we’ll see if we do something or not,” she said, anticipating a frosty Saturday morning when temperatures are expected to drop to -18 F.
“I think people are out to get what they need to do done before the real cold hits,” she added.
According to Poweroutage.us, more than 300,000 homes and businesses in Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee were without power Friday after icy power lines were severed, including by fallen trees.
However, it has already warmed up there, and temperatures in Austin, Texas, are expected to reach 52 F on Friday and rise to 71 F by Monday.
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