Parts of the U.S. are experiencing record-breaking wind chill conditions that are nearly off the official National Weather Service charts.
The northeast of the country is battered by a powerful arctic storm, with temperatures in new hampshireMount Washington plummeted to a new low of -46F (-43C).
But wind chill is how cold people actually feel outside, depending on the strength and temperature of the wind.
The 96 mph winds on Mount Washington produced a wind chill of -108F (-78C) – easily below the low point on the National Weather Service (NWS) wind chill map at -98F (-72C).
“Worst weather in the world”
NWS calls Mount Washington tallest peak in Northeast us“lived up to the reputation of having the worst weather in the world”.
New Hampshire is one of several states under a wind chill warning, along with Massachusetts, Connecticut, maineRhode Island, Vermont and most of the New Yorkwhich issued a “code blue” alert for sub-zero temperatures.
Thousands of homes were without power and emergency shelters were open.
While the deep freeze is expected to be relatively short, people have been warned the condition is life-threatening and schools in some cities have been closed due to the risk of hypothermia and frostbite among children.
A weather expert said forecast cold winds could cause frostbite on bare skin in as little as 10 minutes.
“It’s painful,” said Donald Dumont, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.
One of the cities hardest hit by the freeze was Boston, Massachusetts, where Mayor Michelle Wu declared a state of emergency.
Record low temperatures are expected Saturday there and in Worcester, one of the state’s other cities, where residents have endured lows of 3F (-16C) heading into the weekend.
Boston has an all-time low of -2F (-19C) dating back to 1886, and Worcester has an all-time low of -4F (-20C) dating back to 1934.
The severe cold sweeping from the east Canadaas southern states recovered from another winter storm that brought days of rain, sleet and snow.
exist TexasThousands of residents remained without power Friday night, even as the weather warmed. Austin, one of the state’s largest cities, has seen 30 percent of its customers without power at any given time since Monday.
Mayor Kirk Watson admitted the city had “let down its citizens”.
“This situation is unacceptable to the community and it is unacceptable to me,” the Democrat said.
One resident, Edward Kim, has been without power or heat since Wednesday. The 43-year-old revealed he was using a generator to keep his home “on life”.
Another local, Will Rison, said his elderly parents had also been without power for three days.
“You can only wrap yourself in so many blankets and wait for it to pass,” he added.
While no deaths were reported due to power outages, at least a dozen weather-related deaths have been reported this week on roads in Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.