Title: Record-Breaking Sub-Zero Temperatures and Deadly Ice Storms Sweep Across the Northeast and New England
As temperatures plummet and extreme weather conditions sweep across the Northeast and New England, officials are warning residents to stay indoors and prepare for record-breaking sub-zero temperatures. With more than 15 million people under wind chill warnings or advisories, schools in many states have closed as a precautionary measure for students and staff’s safety.
The brutal blast of dangerously cold winds is expected to be combined with gusty winds, a nasty double-whammy that could lead to frostbite in as little as 10 minutes in some areas. Frigid air feeling as cold as 32 degrees Fahrenheit below zero across much of the region will be combined with gusty winds, a nasty double-whammy that could lead to frostbite in as little as 10 minutes in some areas. The severe cold has put more than 15 million people in the region under wind chill warnings or advisories.
In New York’s Erie County – home to Buffalo – officials issued a code blue, which allows for those experiencing homelessness to seek shelter overnight when temperatures plummet below 32 degrees. In addition to opening three overnight shelters in the county, there are also daytime warming centers available.
The extreme cold is moving in on Buffalo weeks after blizzard conditions wreaked havoc on Erie County during Christmas weekend, killing least 39 people. The South is also struggling with a deadly ice storm that made road conditions miserable this week, claiming the lives of at least eight people in two states.
In surrounding states, warming centers are expected to be available in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Vermont, officials said. All of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut are under wind chill alerts. Northern New Jersey, northeast Pennsylvania and much of New York state outside of New York City and Long Island are also under wind chill threat.
Maine will likely bear the brunt of the storm in terms of longevity as well as severity at times, with more than 70,000 people in the northern portion of the state under blizzard warnings, according to the National Weather Service.
Elsewhere, New York City will see single-digit temperatures, with the coldest at 8 degrees Saturday morning. Winds could feel as low as 7 degrees below zero, with Friday night into Saturday being the coldest period.
Farther south, an ice storm lashed parts of several states including Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee this week. Layers upon layers of ice, sleet and freezing rain over the course of multiple consecutive days made driving conditions life-threatening and snapped many tree branches and limbs that eventually knocked down power lines for tens of thousands.
As of early Friday, more than 270,000 homes and businesses in Texas were still without power following the storm. About 60,000 homes and businesses in neighboring Arkansas were also in the dark. The ice storm’s impact on roads made for deadly conditions this week. In Oklahoma, two people were killed in separate crashes after they lost control of their trucks on icy roads. In Texas, three people were killed near Brownfield after a driver of a truck lost control Wednesday morning on an icy part of US Highway 380 and rolled into a ditch. The driver and two of his passengers were killed, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.
The cold spell is expected to begin subsiding by Sunday when temperatures will likely rise again. In the meantime, officials across several states have begun imploring residents to stay indoors and have ramped up warming center efforts to accommodate some of the most vulnerable to the cold.
As the Northeast and New England brace for record-breaking sub-zero temperatures and dangerous ice storms, residents should take extra precautions to stay safe and warm.