Big Apple & New England Will Get More Chill

Fun in the snow along 1st Avenue, Midtown East, Manhattan

Fun in the snow along 1st Avenue, Midtown East, Manhattan
Photo courtesy Victoria Prather

Big Apple & New England Will Get More Chill
| published February 23, 2015 |

By Thursday Review staff

Global temperatures may be rising, but in places like Boston, New York, Cincinnati, and Providence, you wouldn’t know that from the current weather. This week, like last, New Yorkers can expect another blast of that dreaded Arctic air, with another stretch where temperatures average 25 to 30 degrees below the norm for this time of year.

New Yorkers saw several records fall in the last two weeks. On Saturday, Central Park hit 2 degrees, the lowest for that location and that date since the winter of 1950.

On that same day, Cincinnati dipped to its lowest recorded temperature since 1915.

And it was so cold in northern Alabama, many roads became impassable because of ice and snow, causing NASA to completely shutter its Camellia State facilities and offices—the first time weather has ever caused that to happen.

To make things even frostier down to the bone, the wind chill will make some of that air feel well below zero for many people in New York State and all across New England. In places like New Hampshire and Vermont, the real temp could dip deeply—down to as low as 17 degrees below zero, more record-breaking cold as New Englanders and New Yorkers get the sort of Arctic air conditioning usually only experienced in northern Canada.

In New York State, all of this could make driving very dangerous as the melting snow from last week’s winter storm spawns black ice. Officials in at least five states are warning motorists and truck drivers to use extreme caution, or better still, stay off the road wherever possible. Multi-car, multi-truck pile-ups have become all too common this year (there were plenty last winter too, when repeat visits from Polar Vortex events caused terrible pile-ups in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky), often the result of driver inability to judge the slipperiness if ice and snow in areas already inundated with frozen rain or previous snows.

Like last year, most of the country is experiencing temperatures well below normal. And this has led to lots of unexpected problems: power outages, transit system shutdowns, cities and counties unable to keep up with moving and storing the snow, road salt shortages, rail and train accidents, roof collapses, airport closures and flight delays, and another winter of extreme levels of overtime by the municipal and state workers charged with managing the weather-related responses. Water main breaks in Rhode Island have caused water shortages to at least 1000 people, and commuter ferries around Boston—those still operating at all—required ice breaker ships to precede each boat run.

Heavy snows in and around Denver have caused roads to be closed, and resulted in hundreds of airline flights to be cancelled at Denver International Airport. Denver, already sitting under the remnants of last week’s 30-plus inches of snow, was expecting another 14 to 15 inches early this week.

Though the initial results of Federal and state investigations have not been released, last week’s train derailment in West Virginia may have been the result of heavy icing on the rail lines, with unusually cold temperatures combining with snow and freezing rain in the hours before the derailment and subsequent explosions.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Train Carrying Oil Derails in W. Virginia; Thursday Review staff; Thursday Review; February 17, 2015.