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Arctic blast brings dangerously cold temperatures to the Northeast

The Arctic air included a record-setting wind chill of minus 108 degrees Fahrenheit on the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire.

The arctic temperatures and gusting winds are responsible for at least one death as Friday’s high winds were blamed for the death of an infant in Southwick, Massachusetts.

The winds brought a tree branch down on a vehicle driven by a 23-year-old Winstead, Connecticut, woman, according to a statement from the Hampden district attorney’s office.

The driver was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, but the infant died, authorities said.

The powerful arctic blast will bring “dangerously cold wind chill temperatures” to the Northeast through Saturday evening along with blizzard conditions through northern Maine, forecasters have warned. 

The Arctic air that descended on the Northeast on Saturday brought sub-zero temperatures and wind chills to the region, including a record-setting wind chill of minus 108 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 78 C) on the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire.

On Saturday, Rochester, New York matched its record low temperature of minus 8 set for this date in 1918, federal forecasters said.

According to the National Weather Service, the following cities also set record lows for Feb. 4 on Saturday: Boston; Providence, Rhode Island; Hartford, Connecticut; and Worcester, Massachusetts. The minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit temperature in Boston smashed the previous Feb. 4 record of minus 2 set in 1886. The minus 13 degrees temperature in Albany, New York, tied the record low for the date. Glens Falls, New York, set a record low of minus 24 degrees, colder than the previous record of minus 22 set in 1978.

“Temperatures will be 10 to 30 degrees below average over parts of the Northeast into the coastal mid-Atlantic,” the National Weather Service said in a bulletin. 

Wind chill warnings and advisories have been issued across New York state and New England, it said. 

The weather service added that high winds could bring power outages and damage property over the northern Rocky Mountain front and the High Plains. 

In Boston, Mayor Michelle Wu declared a state of emergency through Sunday and opened warming centers to help the city’s 650,000-plus residents cope.  

Steam rises from Boston Harbor as temperatures reach -7F in Boston
Steam rises from Boston Harbor as temperatures reach -7F in Boston on Saturday.Joseph Prezioso / AFP via Getty Images

On Saturday night at Boston's Wang Theater, two showings by the comedy troupe "Impractical Jokers" were rescheduled for April after the cold caused a sprinkler system to malfunction, the troupe tweeted.

In Rockport, Massachusetts, sea smoke, a vapor formed when icy cold air moves over warmer bodies of water, could be seen for those on the coast or who braved the minus 10 degree weather.

In New York, a “Code Blue” alert that signals sub-freezing temperatures and the opening of emergency shelters was activated. 

Power had been restored to customers throughout the Northeast Saturday, but Texas, which grappled with an ice storm earlier in the week, continued to struggle with electricity as more than 76,000 customers were in the dark late Saturday.    

Texas and parts of the South were starting to warm up in the aftermath of that deadly front that brought days of freezing rain, sleet and ice, caused massive power outages, and resulted in icy roads. Eight deaths were associated with the ice storm.

A fresh west-to-east storm was moving into northern California overnight, with another round of snow expected to hit the Sierra Nevada mountains through Sunday, forecasters said.

Some of those places in the Midwest and Northeast that experienced record cold were expected to thaw. The National Weather Service said a "rapid warm up" would take place Sunday for those regions as well as the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska.

The National Weather Service office that covers New York City said Saturday the warmup would bring temperatures 25 to 35 degrees higher on Sunday compared to the previous day’s temps. It hit a high of 22 in Central Park on Saturday, with a low of 3 degrees, according to the weather service.