For 20 million people in the Northeast US, the blizzard conditions included blinding whiteouts, extremely low temperatures, and other difficulties.
More than 20 million people in the Northeast will continue to be impacted by a brief but potentially fatal cold snap this weekend as temperatures well below freezing spread across the region.
Extreme Wind Chills
Through Saturday morning, multiple wind chill warnings and advisories are anticipated to remain in effect for the entirety of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Connecticut. Due to the freezing temperatures, most of the state of New York, as well as the northern counties in Pennsylvania are also in danger.
To help those in need, especially vulnerable groups experiencing homelessness, officials from several states have opened shelters and warming centers as well as urged the public to stay indoors until Sunday.
Governor Kathy Hochul stated on Friday morning that the state will experience extremely low temperatures today and tomorrow. To make sure they have the resources they require to keep New Yorkers safe, Hochul’s office works with regional authorities. Hochul advises the general public to limit their time spent outside, dress in layers, and exercise caution when using other heat sources.
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
Blizzard Conditions, Blinding Witeouts
The region is in danger as dangerously cold winds originating from Canada hit the area. The National Weather Service reports that 70,000 people in Aroostook and Penobscot counties are under blizzard warnings until Saturday evening, with the worst effects expected in northern Maine.
According to the NWS, open areas should expect ground blizzard conditions today through Saturday. The service advises against driving if it is not essential.
On Friday, the Maine State Police posted images of the worsening road conditions in Aroostook County and cautioned motorists that periods of blinding whiteouts could occur in any area of the state with open fields and snow.
Maine State Police point out that the county’s open fields and views are its most appealing features, but on days like this, they become a danger.
They warned the public that what initially appears to be normal driving conditions can quickly turn into stretches of road with virtually no visibility.
Extreme Cold, Below Zero Temps
To add to the blizzard conditions, some areas of northern Maine experienced wind chills as low as minus 69 degrees on Friday night. In many other locations, the wind chill ranged from minus 35 to minus 50 degrees.
In Maine, where the water inside trees froze, expanded, caused trees to snap, and knocked down power lines, the local weather service also noted some power outages, though Friday’s effects did not appear to be extensive or widespread.
The highest elevation in the Northeast, Mount Washington in New Hampshire, likely set a new record for the lowest wind chill temperature on Friday night with a reported wind chill of negative 108 degrees Fahrenheit, thanks to a temperature of 46 degrees below zero and wind gusts of 127 mph. Although wind chill records aren’t really historically as closely monitored as temperature records, the mark would surpass previous lows.
Death Toll, Power Outage
The freezing temperatures this week go beyond the boundaries of the Northeast US. Further south, as an ice storm pounded the area, causing the deaths of eight people, extreme cold also caused persistent power outages across Arkansas and Texas, CNN reports.
Due to numerous rounds of ice, sleet, and freezing rain that made roads treacherous and weighed down trees, causing them to break and bring down power lines, approximately 150,000 households and business establishments in Texas still endure the power outage on Saturday. According to Poweroutage.us, more than 35,000 households and businesses in Arkansas had power outages early on Saturday.
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