A powerful arctic blast swept into the U.S. Northeast on Friday, threatening to push temperatures to record lows in many spots, including New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington, where the wind chill could drop to -110 degrees Fahrenheit, forecasters said.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said in an advisory that the mass of frigid air would keep temperatures at life-endangering levels through Saturday.
“Even though it’s a short-lived blast, conditions will be extremely dangerous,” the advisory said.
The NWS said that wind chills would contribute to the “once in a generation cold” temperatures that they are expecting throughout the region through Saturday morning.
A powerful cold front will completely sweep through the Northeastern U.S. by tomorrow (Friday) morning to deliver a short-lived but impressive Arctic blast. Below are some of the forecast details through Saturday… https://t.co/MobJrFATO5 pic.twitter.com/63ASCgb5rR
— National Weather Service (@NWS) February 2, 2023
Boston’s Mayor Michelle Wu declared an emergency for the city, which closed its public schools, citing the risk of hypothermia and frostbite among children walking to school.
Early on Friday, the core of the cold air mass, driven from Arctic Canada into the United States by high altitude air currents, was centered over the U.S. Plains, said NWS forecaster Bob Oravec. International Falls, Minnesota, was the coldest spot as of 7 a.m., with temperatures hovering around -36 degrees. Dry air meant snowfall would be limited, he said.
“It’s moving into the Northeast” and temperatures will drop throughout the day on Friday, he said. “That’s the biggest story of the day.”
In Mount Washington State Park, atop the Northeast’s highest peak, temperatures were expected to fall to a record low of -50 degrees Fahrenheit later Friday, officials for the New Hampshire park service said.
The wind chill, which describes the combined effect of wind and cold temperatures on exposed skin, could register at -110 degrees Fahrenheit at the peak, typically one of the coldest places in the country.
Boston was about 22 degrees above zero on Friday morning, with temperatures expected to plummet throughout the day and hit -3 degrees by midnight. In Worcester, Massachusetts, 40 miles to the west, temperatures were expected to drop to -14 before starting to moderate on Saturday.
SOUTH THAWING OUT FROM DEADLY ICE STORMS
As the Northeast prepared for the cold blast, Texas and parts of the South were dealing with the aftermath of a winter storm that brought days of freezing rain, sleet and ice accumulation, causing widespread power outages and dangerously slick roadways across the region.
More than 450,000 homes and businesses in Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee were without electricity early on Thursday, according to Poweroutage.us, after half an inch of ice in some spots toppled power lines and trees.
Officials across the region also urged motorists to stay off the roads after icy roadways across the region were blamed for ten deaths over the past several days.
Around the state, Texans took to social media to post images of vehicles sliding sideways on slippery highways and ice-crusted tree limbs bending under the weight.
#icestorm in #Dallas #Texas sent cars sliding all over the road today after #freezingrain made #icyroads. #TxWx #WinterStorm pic.twitter.com/qiJuB5oXRK
— WxChasing- Brandon Clement (@bclemms) January 31, 2023
A video posted on Twitter by user Rob Quigley shows a man on ice skates playing hockey on a glazed sidewalk in a Dallas suburb.
The cold blast and ice storms have come as the celebrated groundhog known as Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Groundhog Day, a sign of six more weeks of frosty weather in North America.
Even so, mild temperatures are headed back to much of the Northeast starting Sunday, said Bob Oravec, a forecaster with the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.
“It certainly has been a mild winter in the Northeast, despite this brutal cold snap, which will be relatively short-lived,” he said.
Copyright 2023 Thomson/Reuters. Additions and edts for FISM News by Michael Cardinal.