Arctic blast and icy temperatures grip U.S. northeast

A newborn died in Massachusetts on Saturday as a result of the Arctic blast – a hazardous mix of record-breaking low temperatures and strong winds that pounded the United States’ northeast, Reuters reports.

A wind chill of minus 108 degrees Fahrenheit (-78°Celsius) was reported overnight on Mount Washington in New Hampshire, which may have been a record low for the country.

According to the Mount Washington Observatory, the air temperature at the summit dropped to minus 44 degrees Fahrenheit (-47 C) and experienced wind gusts of around 100 miles per hour (160 kilometers per hour).

As an Arctic blast started to move through the Northeast on Friday, wind-chill warnings were issued for more than 16 million residents as they prepared for the weekend. The storm brought the possibility of icy temperatures and strong winds with it, USA Today reports.

Boston, where wind chills severe enough to induce frostbite might feel as low as 35 degrees below zero, could set records as a result of the storm, which arrived Thursday night and is predicted to persist through Saturday.

USA Today reports that midwestern states including Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio as well as Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey will also be affected by the freezing temperatures.

In addition to reports of “frostquakes,” which are vibrations that resemble earthquakes but are really generated by the soil breaking 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, some communities opened warming centers and carried out outreach to make sure that the homeless were protected from the elements.

The cold weather was predicted to pass quickly because Sunday’s temperatures were going to be much higher. According to the NWS, Sunday’s high in Boston will be close to 47 degrees F (8.3 C).

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