Frigid air, high winds sweep the Northeast; at least 7 dead
CONCORD, N.H. – Falling temperatures replaced the weekend’s falling snow Monday as bitter cold and gusty winds swept across the eastern United States.
The National Weather Service had forecast that temperatures would be more than 20 degrees below normal across the Northeast, with wind gusts up to 30 mph (48 kph) and wind chills approaching minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 degrees Celsius) in northern New York and Vermont.
Those wind gusts caused flight disruptions at LaGuardia Airport in New York City on Monday and FlightAware reported hundreds of delayed flights. And after a few weather-related delays Sunday, Amtrak restored all scheduled service Monday.
Atop the Northeast’s highest mountain, the temperature fell to minus 23 degrees (minus 31 Celsius) Monday morning and dropped to minus 31 (minus 35 Celsius) later in the afternoon, according to the Facebook page for Mount Washington Observatory, in New Hampshire. Wind chills were hovering around minus 80 (minus 62 Celsius).
In New York, Coast Guard crews moved quickly to rescue a 21-year-old man left stranded on an island in the Navensink River after his small boat broke down. The Coast Guard said two members waded through 34-degree (1 Celsius) water to bring the man to safety. The air temperature was 7 degrees (minus 14 Celsius) with 30 mph wind.
The weather contributed to multiple deaths over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.
In suburban Chicago, the temperature was about 14 degrees (minus 10 Celsius) Sunday when a 12-year-old girl died after a snow fort collapsed on her. Police in Arlington Heights, Illinois, said Esther Jung had been playing with another girl outside Rothem Church. Their families began looking for them about an hour later and found them under the snow. The younger girl survived.
In Connecticut, a utility company subcontractor died Sunday after being struck by a falling tree while working on a power line in Middletown. Thousands of homes and businesses in Connecticut remained without power Monday afternoon as temperatures dropped below zero in some locations.
“This is a reminder of the danger these men and women face on our behalf,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a tweet. “While many are still out there working today, please join me in acknowledging them and sending our thoughts to this person’s family.”
In Kansas, a snowplow driver was killed when the plow drove onto the shoulder of a road and rolled over, throwing him under the vehicle. It wasn’t clear why the driver had moved to the shoulder from the roadway.
At least four people have died after shoveling snow.
In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office said a 59-year-old man and a 91-year-old man collapsed and died Sunday in separate incidents after removing snow. In upstate New York, 70-year-old Frank Demasi died Monday after collapsing with a heart attack while shoveling snow. And in southwest Michigan, a man in charge of transportation at a school district also died while shoveling snow. Portage district officials said Mike Westbrook died Saturday from a heart attack.
Another storm system is already developing over the Rockies that could blanket the same region with more snow by the end of the week.