(Boston) Arctic air enveloped the American Northeast Saturday morning, bringing dangerously cold temperatures and a wind chill that dropped to -45 to -50 Fahrenheit (-43 to -45 Celsius) in many areas.
Atop Mount Washington in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, overnight wind chill was measured at -108 Fahrenheit (-78 Celsius), according to the weather observatory atop the tallest mountain in the Northeast. , famous for its extreme weather conditions.
“It’s kind of an Arctic intrusion,” said Stephen Baron, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Gray, Maine. “Sometimes in the winter the jet stream lowers and the Arctic Oscillation allows cold air to enter our area for a day or two. »
Friday’s high winds were blamed for the death of an infant in Southwick, Massachusetts.
Winds knocked a tree branch down on a vehicle driven by a 23-year-old woman from Winstead, Conn., according to a statement from the Hampden District Attorney’s Office.
The driver was taken to hospital with serious injuries, but her infant died, authorities said.
Most people followed advice to stay indoors on Saturday, but some had no choice but to go outside.
Gin Koo, 36, braved the cold to take his Boston terrier, Bee, for a much-needed walk.
“I don’t remember it being this cold, not since 2015,” said Koo, who wore three shirts and a puffer jacket, as well as a beanie and hoodie. Bee was still shivering despite her doggie coat. “I wouldn’t go out if I didn’t have to. »
Paul Butler, 45, homeless since being evicted in December 2021, took shelter at South Station, the Boston transit center authorities kept open all night for homeless people to a warm place to stay.
Boston, like many communities, has opened heat drop-ins.
“It’s the coldest I can remember, and I’ve worked the doorstep of several clubs for 15 years,” said the former Marine, who carried two bags containing extra clothing and blankets.
Extreme cold has limited some traditional winter activities. Ski resorts have reduced operations, while in New Hampshire, organizers of an annual ice castle attraction in North Woodstock have shortened the visitor schedule for Friday and Saturday evenings.
Erin Trotta of Massachusetts, who had already booked a visit for Saturday afternoon, still plans to go, but is taking extra steps to stay warm.
“We are ready to face the ice castles of the polar vortex. Snow pants, thick winter coats, hand and foot warmers, balaclavas, those where only the eyes are exposed, good gloves and winter boots. Plan to drink hot chocolate to warm up. »
In New York’s Adirondack Mountains, Old Forge recorded a temperature of -37 degrees Celsius early Saturday. Temperatures have plunged into the negative tens of degrees in dozens of other cities and towns, with wind chill making it feel even colder. Winds peaked last Friday, exceeding 80 km/h in some areas.
Mackenzie Glasser, owner of Ozzie’s Coffee Bar in Old Forge, said freezing temperatures are a part of life in the Adirondacks.
“I even had customers during the first hour of opening, when I did not expect this at 7 am.
“The good news is that the cold air is expected to leave much of the region by Sunday, when temperatures could reach 4 degrees Celsius.
“It’s a hell of a change,” said Mr Baron of the National Weather Service.
Michael Hill in New York and Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.