After major snowfall, US Northeast braces for deep freeze

Ebony Scott
January 7, 2018

Blizzard warnings were in place along the coast from North Carolina to ME, with the National Weather Service forecasting winds as high as 55 miles per hour (89 kph) that may bring down tree limbs and knock out power.

Temperatures were expected to verge on minus 20 degrees Celsius in many areas of the northeastern United States late on Friday and into Saturday, with some more northerly states, such as ME and New Hampshire, seeing the mercury plummet to minus 40 degrees Celsius, the National Weather Service said.

Utility companies across the East worked to fix downed power lines early on Friday as about 21,000 customers remained without electricity, down from nearly 80,000 the day before, and issued warnings that temperatures may become dangerously low.

The day after a massive winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow in parts of NY, a bitter cold front is expected to hit the East Coast with record setting temperatures.

On Thursday, heavy snowfall, glacial temperatures and high winds sparked by a "bomb cyclone" storm had combined to force the cancellation of some 4,300 flights, while another 3,500 were delayed.

The wintry weather has been blamed for at least 14 deaths in the past few days, including three in North Carolina traffic accidents and three in Texas because of the cold. In Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh said schools would remain closed on Friday.

More than 5,000 US airline flights were cancelled.

New York's John F Kennedy International Airport temporarily halted all flights due to whiteout conditions, it said on its Twitter feed.

Passenger train operator Amtrak was running reduced service in the Northeast.

The flooded ramp to Piers Park Sailing Center in East Boston
The flooded ramp to Piers Park Sailing Center in East Boston

The wind is expected to let up by Sunday, with relatively balmy temperatures at the beginning of next week as temperatures are forecast to reach highs in the 30s. Charleston, South Carolina, received 5.3 inches of accumulation, within an inch of its record. "If I didn'€™t, I probably would have stayed home", Ann Gillard, 24, said as she waited for a subway in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to take her into the downtown Boston office where she works as a consultant.

A powerful blizzard battered the U.S. Northeast on Thursday, knocking out power for tens of thousands of people and snarling travel amid a cold snap that has gripped much of the United States for over a week and killed more than a dozen people.

Some 65,000 homes and businesses in the Northeast were without power early today, though that number was expected to rise as the storm intensifies across the region.

Thursday's power outages raised fears that people would be left without electricity and heat on Friday and during the weekend when temperatures are forecast to plunge.

"We can handle snow", New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference. Heavy snow and high winds also hit NY.

Winds of 74 miles per hour or higher are considered hurricane force.

Almost 500 members of the National Guard were activated on the coast on Thursday night to assist with the emergency response, including 200 in NY state, the US Department of Defence said. The phenomenon occurs when a storm's barometric pressure drops by 24 millibars in 24 hours.

"Due to strong wind gusts, any power outages are expected to be prolonged because bucket trucks can not withstand the winds", Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy told reporters.

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