Up to minus 51 degrees expected: Northeastern U.S. and Eastern Canada under historic polar cold
Sylvie Claire / February 4, 2023
"Epic" and unheard of in "generations": the metrological services of the United States and Canada have redoubled Friday of catastrophic warnings in the face of polar temperatures that could reach -50 degrees.
The northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada are experiencing frigid winds. The northern state of Maine in particular could see temperatures drop to -51 degrees Celsius on Friday and Saturday, according to a National Weather Service (NWS) bulletin for the Caribou region, not far from the border with Canada.
In parts of the U.S. Northeast, and this region of New England, temperatures in a frigid wind "could reach their lowest level in decades or even a level never before recorded," according to the NWS.
Across the border, polar cold warnings were issued for eastern Canada, according to the Ministry of the Environment, which warned of the risk of frostbite within minutes.
The temperature was -41º in Montreal on Friday afternoon. The mercury could drop as low as -50º in the northern parts of Quebec. White smoke, called "arctic sea smoke", rose over the St. Lawrence River due to the extreme cold passing over unfrozen water.
Strong gusts of wind hit the few passers-by in downtown Montreal on a sunny Friday, noted journalists from AFP.
Electricity company Hydro-Québec was preparing for a historic consumption threshold to occur on Friday and Saturday and called on its customers to save energy.
The worst of the cold in the U.S. is expected to hit Friday night and Saturday, especially in Boston and New York City further south, where it could be -15º.
Before temperatures rise again on Sunday.
Rain, snow, storms, polar cold, and wet heat: the northeastern United States is subject to extreme weather events throughout the year that result in loss of life and property damage.
Most recently, over the Christmas weekend of 2022, a blizzard and snowstorm hit the city of Buffalo in upstate New York, killing dozens.