‘Generational’ arctic blast hits northeastern US, Canada | Weather news

A powerful arctic blast has hit the northeastern US, Canada, pushing temperatures to dangerously low levels.

A “generational” arctic blast brought dangerously cold temperatures to parts of the northeastern United States and Canada on Saturday, with forecasters warning frostbite could set in in as little as five minutes.

Atop Mount Washington in New Hampshire, the wind chill factor reached -78 degrees Celsius (-108 degrees Fahrenheit) overnight, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

That broke the previous record low of -74C (-101F), the Weather Channel reported.

At nearly 1,920 meters (6,299 feet), Mount Washington is the highest peak in the northeastern US and is known for some of the worst weather in the world.

The view from the top of the observation tower at Mount Washington State Park.
The top of the observatory tower at Mount Washington State Park, where the wind chill has dropped to -79 Celsius, is seen in a live camera photo in New Hampshire, the United States, on February 4, 2023. [Mount Washington Observatory/mountwashington.org/Handout via Reuters]

Temperatures of -43C (-45 F) and wind gusts in excess of 177 km/h (109 mph) combined for a record low.

The NWS office in Caribou, Maine, said a wind chill of -51C (-29F) was recorded in the small town of Frenchville, just south of the Canadian border.

“This is an epic, generational Arctic epidemic,” the bureau warned in a pre-launch warning.

It said the cold will be “something northern and eastern Maine hasn’t seen since similar outbreaks in 1982 and 1988.”

“Most stations are forecast to experience the lowest wind chills in decades or, in some cases, the lowest on record,” the service added.

It is warned that in such conditions, frostbite can appear on exposed skin within five minutes.

“The dangers of being caught off guard without shelter from the elements and without proper winter survival gear cannot be overemphasized,” the service wrote.

Steam rises from Boston Harbor as temperatures reach -7F (-14C) in Boston, Massachusetts on February 4, 2023.
Steam rises from Boston Harbor as temperatures reach -14C in Boston, Massachusetts on February 4, 2023. [Joseph Prezioso/AFP]

Severe weather warnings for several million people were in effect for much of New England, Quebec and eastern Canada.

A wind chill factor of -41C (-41F) was measured at Montreal International Airport.

Energy company Hydro Quebec said the polar blast caused record high electricity consumption late Friday and urged customers to turn down the heat a degree or two.

New York had a “code blue” law in effect, which meant no homeless shelters could turn anyone in anyway.

In New York’s Central Park, the mercury dropped to -16C (3F), the NWS said.

People are flocking to New York as temperatures drop.
People huddle to protect themselves from cold winds as the area sees record low temperatures on February 3, 2023 in New York [Michael M Santiago/Getty Images/AFP]

Wind chill temperatures dropped below -34C (-29F) in Boston, where public schools were closed on Friday as a precaution.

Warmer air should arrive in the region late Sunday.

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