East Coast locked in wickedly cold weekend of sub-zero temps
NEW YORK: East Coast locked in wickedly cold weekend of sub-zero temps
NEW YORK: A deadly winter storm that walloped a large swath of the United States wreaked havoc Saturday at several airports, with passengers arriving in New York complaining of being stranded on the tarmac for hours.
A “bomb cyclone” that raked the northeastern part of the country with heavy snowfall, glacial temperatures and high winds had forced the cancelation earlier in the week of thousands of flights, and caused thousands more delays.
Although flights had resumed at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport, passengers on Air China 989 from Beijing were forced to wait seven hours to deplane, flight tracking site Flightradar24 tweeted.
“But there are more new flights that landed at JFK this morning, parked with passengers waiting to deplane,” the website said.
A passenger with the Twitter handle @jennimonet said in a post: “Free at last! After a 14-hour flight from Beijing, and another 7-hours stranded on the @JKFairport TarMac, passengers aboard @airchina Flight #CA989 are deplaning. The next concern is lengthy customs lines. Our flight was just one of many that landed, but without a gate assigned.”
Late Friday, a passenger with the Twitter name @thechrismendez said: “Been stuck on tarmac for over 3 hours at JFK Alitalia flight 8604. Multiple passengers seeking medical attention. Staff not communicating. Babies literally crying from hunger and people calling police from the plane.”
Two flights headed to New York — OS87 from Vienna and LH400 from Frankfurt — had to turn back due to the “current capacity limit at JFK,” Flightradar24 said.
In addition to irate passengers, jets from China Southern Airlines and Kuwait Airways clipped each other near JFK’s Terminal Four amid the chaos, local media reported.
No one was hurt but both planes were damaged and pulled from service.
The airport in Charleston, South Carolina, unequipped to deal with the five inches (12.7 centimeters) of snow and ice it received, saw 64 percent of its outgoing flights canceled Saturday, FlightAware said.
The extreme storm saw wind chill warnings in parts of the Midwest and northeastern US, with authorities warning that the frigid blasts of air could feel as cold as minus 45 Fahrenheit (minus 43 Celsius), with risk of frostbite to exposed skin within 10 minutes.
At least 19 people in states from Texas to Wisconsin have died due to the severe weather, US media reported.
Mount Washington, New Hampshire recorded the second-coldest temperature on earth early Saturday, minus 36 Fahrenheit.
On Saturday, wind chill warnings throughout the Northeast hit Burlington, Vermont, with a temperature of minus 1 and a wind chill of minus 30. Both Philadelphia and New York were shivering at 8 degrees, with wind chills of minus 11 in Philadelphia and minus 9 in New York.
And in Hartford, Connecticut, a brutal cold of 10 degrees yielded a wind chill of minus 20.
These locations, however, had nothing on the White Mountains in New Hampshire. The Mount Washington Observatory, on its website, predicted that the mountain’s highest summits could see wind chills of minus 100 degrees Saturday. At 6 a.m. Saturday, it tied with Armstrong, Ontario, as the second coldest place in the world at minus 36.
In New Jersey, many people chose to stay home instead of dealing with single-digit temperatures. Others were cleaning up from the storm that dropped more than a foot of snow in some spots earlier in the week.
“My car felt like an icebox this morning, even though I had the heat on full blast,” Julie Williams said as she sipped coffee inside a Jackson Township convenience store. She was headed to work at a local supermarket, and was expecting the store to be packed.
“People think it’s nuts before a storm happens, with everyone getting milk, bread, etc.” she said, adding with a laugh, “but it’s even worse in the days afterward, because they do the same thing but they’re a little crazy from cabin fever.”
In Rhode Island, hospitals were treating dozens of storm-related injuries as the region grits through a deep freeze that followed a powerful blizzard.
In Providence and Newport, at least 40 people were treated for various weather-related conditions, from heart attacks, snowblower or shoveling injuries, motor vehicle accidents, frostbite, hypothermia and injuries including slips and falls, according to The Providence Journal.
The storm dropped more than 14 inches of snow in Providence.
The cold conditions everywhere will last most of the weekend, but Monday expects to be the first day above freezing since last month. In New York City, temperatures should reach 40 degrees next week.
Even more locations won’t escape the cold; the mercury should be dipping into the single digits in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., during the weekend, about 20 degrees below normal for this time of year.
The blast of cold air could bring the feeling of real jaw-clenching temperatures to people living further north.
The National Weather Service said Friday that temperatures in the Berkshire mountains in western Massachusetts could seem like a frosty minus 35 degrees, parts of New Hampshire and Maine could experience minus 45 and Vermont’s mountain regions could feel like minus 50 degrees.
“It’s definitely cold and the type of bone-chilling cold that happens every few years,” said Dan Hofmann, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Baltimore.
The weather service issued wind chill warnings for various days this weekend for parts of Vermont, New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Maine and New Hampshire.
Fast forward to early next week, though, and more seasonable weather across the region is expected to return with temperatures in the high 30s and near 40s.