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Arctic blast barrels into U.S. Northeast, bringing record lows

2023-02-03T14:59:17Z

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.

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 (-80 degrees Celsius) 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.

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People bundled up against winter weather walk in midtown Manhattan as bitter cold temperatures moved into much of the northeast United States in New York City, New York, U.S., February 3, 2023. REUTERS/Mike Segar

A woman walks through Washington Square Park in Manhattan as bitter cold temperatures moved into much of the northeast United States in New York City, New York, U.S., February 3, 2023. REUTERS/Mike Segar

People walk in Washington Square Park in Manhattan as bitter cold temperatures moved into much of the northeast United States in New York City, New York, U.S., February 3, 2023. REUTERS/Mike Segar