100 million people affected by deep freeze in the United States

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Around 100 million people shivered in the United States as temperatures plummeted – with a wind chill close to minus 100F (minus 73.3C) on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington meaning it vied for the world’s coldest place.

Jaw-clenching temperatures hit throughout the north-east of the country – Burlington, Vermont was at minus 1F (minus 18.3C) and a wind chill of minus 30 (minus 34.4C), while both Philadelphia and New York were shivering at 8F (minus 13.3C).

And in Hartford, Connecticut, a brutal cold of 10F (minus 12.2C) yielded a wind chill of minus 20F (minus 29C).

On Saturday, winds of more than 90mph swirled Mount Washington, the north-east’s highest peak, at a temperature of minus 37F (minus 38C) and a wind chill of minus 93F (minus 69C). It tied for second place with Armstrong, Ontario, as the coldest spot in the world.

Boston, at a relatively balmy 11F (minus 12C), was wrangling with a different kind of challenge: a shortage of plumbers as the weather wreaked havoc on pipes that froze and cracked, Democratic Mayor Marty Walsh reported.

A three-foot tidal surge brought on by the winds along the Massachusetts coast was the highest recorded in nearly a century.

In New Jersey, many people stayed home instead of dealing with single-digit temperatures. Others were cleaning up from the storm that dropped more than a foot of snow in some spots earlier in the week.

“My car felt like an icebox this morning, even though I had the heat on full blast,” Julie Williams said as she sipped coffee inside a Jackson Township convenience store. She was heading to work at a local supermarket, and was expecting it to be packed.

Wintry scenes in Roosevelt Park, Philadelphia
Wintry scenes in Roosevelt Park, Philadelphia (Matt Rourke/AP)

“People think it’s nuts before a storm happens, with everyone getting milk, bread, etc.” she said, “But it’s even worse in the days afterward, because they do the same thing but they’re a little crazy from cabin fever.”

The operators of New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport were struggling to recoup from Thursday’s storm.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the airport, said it was working with airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration to limit flights into Kennedy on Saturday “until there are adequate gates available to handle the backlog of flights due to recovery of flight schedules in the wake of Thursday’s storm”.

In Rhode Island, hospitals were treating dozens of storm-related injuries as the region grits through a deep freeze that followed a powerful blizzard.

In Providence and Newport, at least 40 people were treated for various weather-related conditions, from heart attacks, snowblower or shoveling injuries, frostbite and more, according to The Providence Journal.

The storm dropped more than 14 inches (35 cm) of snow on Providence.

Monday is expected to be the first day above freezing since last month. In New York City, temperatures should reach 40F (4C) next week.

Even more southern locations did not escape the cold; the mercury dipped into the single digits in Baltimore and Washington, DC, during the weekend, about 20F (6C) below normal for this time of year.

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