Dangerous wind chills on their way to Northeast

Associated Press

Minneapolis — Plunging temperatures and gusty winds are making their way to the Northeast, the next victim in the path of dangerously cold temperatures that have gripped the Upper Midwest.

The National Weather Service said Thursday a strong arctic cold front was moving across the region with temperatures falling throughout the day. The frigid weather and wind will cause dangerously cold wind chills into Friday morning, followed by a storm that could bring a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain across much of the country.

It sounds pretty grim, especially for people who have to work in this kind of weather. But some veterans take it all in stride.

Jon Asmund, a state bridge construction superintendent in New Hampshire, swears by fleece-lined pants. “They do wonders,” he said.

He and his crew were working on a bridge not far from Hampton Beach along the seacoast, dealing with 50 mph wind. “It’s still painful, but we make it through the day.”

Some 90 miles north, Will Irvine was hoping to finish up inspection work on a covered bridge in Conway and avoid the low temperatures and strong wind coming Friday. Some of his crew members were suspended underneath the structure for several hours.

“You manipulate your work schedule for whatever Mother Nature’s going to give you, because you’re not going to change her,” he said.

Wind chill advisories enveloped much of the Midwest and Northeast on Thursday.

The winter weather conditions claimed at least two lives.

A 34-year-old woman died of hypothermia in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was found Monday, when temperatures dropped to 3 below zero and wind chills were minus 19. A snow and ice-covered road was a factor in a crash Wednesday night that killed a passenger in a car that lost control and spun into a snowplow in Springport, New York.

And on Monday, a 34-year-old woman was found dead of hypothermia in St. Paul, Minnesota. Temperatures had dropped to 3 below zero and wind chills were minus 19.

With the arctic air tracking northeast, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy planned to activate the state’s severe cold-weather protocol Thursday night, calling for state police and other agencies to work with shelters and community groups to protect vulnerable residents. Malloy also encouraged communities to open warming centers.

Vermont public safety officials warned residents to limit their time outdoors Thursday and Friday due to dangerous wind chills forecast at 35 below. In upstate New York, some schools and government offices were closing early ahead of lake-effect snow expected to dump 1 to 2 feet. Weather-related crashes in western Pennsylvania closed three different stretches of Interstate 80.

Below-normal temperatures are expected this weekend and into Monday across the entire northern half of the country, from the Pacific Northwest to Maine and as far south as Oklahoma, Arkansas and Virginia, according to the Climate Prediction Center.

Up to half a foot of snow could fall from the Upper Mississippi Valley to the Northeast on Friday and Saturday, and areas east of the Appalachian Mountains could see freezing rain and sleet on Saturday.

Another arctic air mass on the heels of the cold front is expected to bring temperatures to the northern Plains over the weekend and into early next week that will be as much as 24 degrees below normal, according to Climate Prediction Center forecaster Stephen Baxter.