This weekend, more than 20 million people in the Northeast will continue to deal with a short cold spell that is dangerous to their lives. Temperatures in the region will feel well below zero.
Wind chill warnings and advisories are likely to last until Saturday morning for all of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Temperatures that are falling are also a threat to almost the whole state of New York and the northern counties of Pennsylvania.
Officials in a number of states have told people to stay inside until temperatures rise on Sunday. They have also opened shelters and warming centers to help those who need it, especially those who are homeless and vulnerable.
“Our state is facing dangerously cold temperatures & extreme wind chills today & tomorrow,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday morning on Twitter. “We are coordinating with local officials to ensure they have what they need to keep New Yorkers safe. Please limit time outdoors, wear layers, & use caution with alternative heat sources.”
Canada is sending dangerously cold winds into the area, which puts whole states in danger. The worst effects are expected in northern Maine, where blizzard warnings are in place until Saturday evening for about 70,000 people in Penobscot and Aroostook counties.
Our state is facing dangerously cold temperatures & extreme wind chills today & tomorrow.
We are coordinating with local officials to ensure they have what they need to keep New Yorkers safe.
Please limit time outdoors, wear layers, & use caution with alternative heat sources. pic.twitter.com/vXnTByTPLf
— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) February 3, 2023
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“Ground blizzard conditions in heavy blowing snow are expected today through Saturday across open areas. Please to not drive if you don’t have to!” the weather service in Caribou, Maine, said.
Friday, the Maine State Police posted photos of worsening road conditions in Aroostook County and warned drivers that “blinding whiteouts” could happen in any area of the state with open fields and snow.
“One of the beauties of the County is (its) open fields and views but on days like this they become a hazard. Drive safe. What looks like safe and normal driving conditions quickly deteriorate into almost zero visibility stretches of roadway,” Maine State Police said in a Facebook post.
In addition to the blizzard, parts of northern Maine felt as cold as -69 degrees on Friday night, and the winds in many other places made it feel as cold as -35 to -50 degrees. This was according to the weather service in Caribou.
The local weather service also said that there were some power outages in Maine because the water inside trees froze and grew, causing trees to break and knock down power lines. However, the effects didn’t seem to be too big or widespread on Friday.
On Friday night, the tallest peak in the Northeast, Mount Washington in New Hampshire, likely set a new national record for the lowest wind chill temperature with a reported wind chill of -108 degrees Fahrenheit. This was thanks to a temperature of -46 degrees and wind gusts of 127 miles per hour. Temperature and wind chill records aren’t kept as closely as temperature records, but this mark would be the lowest ever set.
This week, freezing temperatures have been bad for more than just the Northeast. Farther south, an ice storm killed at least eight people and caused Texas and Arkansas to lose power for a long time because of how cold it was.
About 150,000 homes and businesses in Texas were still without power early Saturday because of multiple rounds of ice, sleet, and freezing rain that made roads dangerous and weighed down trees, causing them to break and take down power lines. The tracking site Poweroutage us says that as of early Saturday morning, more than 35,000 homes and businesses in Arkansas were without power.
Aid for Those Who Are Homeless
The Northeast is still having dangerously cold weather, so New York City’s Department of Homeless Services sent out a “cold blue” on Friday evening.
Most of the time, this means that the temperatures have dropped so low that they have to make resources available to the public. People can use the city’s homeless shelters in an emergency, and the code tells New Yorkers to call the police on people they see on the street to keep them safe.
“No one who is experiencing homelessness and seeking shelter in New York City during a Code Blue will be denied,” a spokesperson for the department said.
Temperatures will be in the single digits in New York City. The coldest time will be Saturday morning when it will be 8 degrees, and the wind could make it feel as cold as 7 degrees below zero.
“Homeless outreach teams will be talking to any New Yorker on the street and offering them warm shelter,” the city said Friday in a tweet.
In Erie County, which is where Buffalo is, officials also put out a “code blue” and opened three shelters for the night and warming centers during the day. Officials say there are also warming centers in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Vermont.
According to their Facebook pages, both Cannon Mountain Ski Resort in Franconia and Wildcat Mountain in Gorham have closed because of the extreme cold. The coldest winds in New Hampshire could make it feel like it’s 40 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. In the same way, several ski areas in Vermont turned away customers and closed down on Friday.
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