New Englanders are accustomed to cold weather, cold combination It can be very dangerous in strong winds, enough even for skiers to curl up and take shelter indoors.
When forecasters spoke of a “once-in-a-generation” wind chill in parts of New England, it was a potentially lethal combination that caused concern.
What causes extreme cold?
Temperature fluctuations in New England are caused by two sources. Donald Dumont, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, said the Arctic gusts are coming, just as rapid storms are developing in Labrador and Newfoundland, whipping up powerful winds. said to have reached the area. .
Cyclone formation refers to the intensification of a cyclone or cyclonic storm system. These winds mean that with wind chills of -50 (minus 45 degrees Celsius) in some places in the Northeast, cold air that drops to about 30 degrees can feel much colder.
“These things are leading to this extreme cold weather pattern affecting us,” said Dumont.
Maine is known for its cold weather, but the popular Pond Hockey Tournament has been postponed, some ski resorts have cut back on operations, and organizers have even canceled Saturday’s National Toboggan Championship event. bottom.
In reality, this kind of extreme cold does not occur very often, even in the Northeast.
Wind chills were expected to drop to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 degrees Celsius) in Portland, Maine. It’s the coldest it’s been since at least 2016 and could be the coldest since 1981, so the wind chill could be the coldest in more than 40 years, Dumont said.
Extreme values increase with increasing altitude. Wind speeds exceeded 100 miles per hour (160 kilometers) on Friday, with wind chills that could reach minus 100 (minus 73 degrees Celsius) at the top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire.
Is it really dangerous?
Yes, it is. Then Dumont added, “It hurts.”
Cold winds at the end of Friday and beginning of Saturday can frostbite exposed skin in just 10 minutes.
Even with a bundle, extreme cold can be dangerous for people who are outside for long periods of time.
Therefore, people are encouraged to stay indoors. If people have to go outside, they should dress in such a way that their lives depend on it.
Wait until the weather warms up a bit before enjoying the great outdoors. “Don’t go snowmobiling. Don’t go skiing.”
how about frostbite?
Extreme temperature changes may be related to rare phenomena called frostquakes, which can also occur when temperatures plummet across regions.
Another meteorologist, Sarah Thunberg, said cold snaps can occur when underground water freezes quickly and expands rapidly.
“It may feel like an earthquake. You may feel a slight tremor,” she said. But that’s nothing to worry about. She added that it was more novel than dangerous.
how long does it last?
Mark Twain once commented on how fast the weather changes in New England. That’s the case with this winter affliction.
With the worst of the Arctic blasts set to leave the region within 36 hours, Dumont expects temperatures in Portland to reach ice-melting highs of 37 degrees Celsius (3 degrees Celsius). We advise against snowmobiling, skiing and tobogganing until Sunday. .