BOSTON (AP) – The Arctic air that descended on the Northeast on Saturday brought dangerously cold sub-zero temperatures and wind chills to the region, including a record-setting wind chill of minus 78 degrees Celcius on the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
Temperatures got so low that authorities in Massachusetts took the unusual step of keeping the South Station transit hub open overnight so homeless people had a safe place to sleep.
Several cities in the Northeast set or tied record low temperatures for the date, while the high winds brought down a tree branch on a car in western Massachusetts killing an infant.
“I can’t remember it being this cold, not since 2015,” said Gin Koo, 36, wrapped up in three shirts and a down jacket, as well as a hat and a hood, as he walked his Boston terrier, Bee, in Boston on Saturday morning. Even Bee, wrapped in a doggie coat, shivered. “I wouldn’t go out if I didn’t have to.”
Paul Butler, 45, who has been homeless since he was evicted in December 2021, took shelter in South Station.
“This is the coldest I ever, ever remember, and I worked the door at a bunch of clubs for 15 years,” said the former Marine.
The Arctic air reached the region just as a rapid cyclogenesis developed over Labrador and Newfoundland, churning up powerful winds, meteorologist Donald Dumont at the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, said on Friday, explaining the temperature plunge.
A cyclogenesis refers to an intensification of a cyclone or low-pressure storm system.
The Mount Washington Observatory at the peak of the Northeast’s highest mountain, famous for its extreme weather conditions, also recorded an actual temperature of minus 44 degrees Celcius, tying an observatory record set in 1934 and a wind gust of 204 kilometre per hour.
Across the rest of the region, wind chills – the combined effect of wind and cold air on exposed skin – dropped to as low as minus 43 to minus 45 degrees Celcius, the National Weather Service reported.
The current method to measure wind chill has been used since 2001.