Brutal cold hits northeastern US

Picture source - Reuters

The Northeastern United States was battered by a perilous confluence of extremely low temperatures and strong winds that led to life-threatening conditions and the death of an infant in Massachusetts on Saturday.

The wind chill at Mount Washington in New Hampshire throughout one night was -78°C, which may have been the lowest temperature ever recorded in the United States. According to the Mount Washington Observatory, the air at the summit had a temperature of minus -44°C and was blowing at a speed of about 160 km/h.

According to a statement from the Hampden district attorney, strong winds caused a tree to fall upon a car in Southwick, Massachusetts, smashing it and killing a baby passenger inside.

The NWS reported that the low temperature in Boston, where authorities shut down the public school system on Friday due to the imminent freeze, reached -23°C, breaking the previous record for the day set more than a century earlier.

The temperature in Providence, Rhode Island, plummeted to -23°C, a significant decrease from the previous record low of -19°C established in 1918.

The NWS also reported that the arctic blast moving into the United States from eastern Canada caused record-low temperatures in several locations, including Albany, New York; Augusta, Maine; Rochester, New York; and Worcester, Massachusetts.

In addition to reports of “frost quakes,” which are tremors that resemble earthquakes but are generated by the soil cracking unexpectedly in the cold, the NWS office in Caribou, Maine, said it had also received reports of trees splitting apart, perhaps as a result of sap freezing inside the trunks.

As a result of the extreme cold, several cities opened warming centers and carried out outreach to make sure that the homeless were protected from the elements.