Down to -51 ° C: a historic polar cold hits the northeastern United States
The inhabitants of Maine (northeastern United States) will experience the Arctic way of life for a weekend. The metrological services of the United States and Canada redoubled their catastrophic warnings on Friday in the face of polar temperatures that could reach -50 ° C in the American northeast and eastern Canada.
The northern state of Maine in particular could see the temperature drop to -51 ° C on Friday and Saturday, according to a National Weather Service (NWS) bulletin for the Caribou region, not far from the border with Canada. In parts of the American Northeast, and this region of New England, temperatures under an icy wind “could reach their lowest level in decades or even a level never before recorded”, according to the NWS.
Images posted on social media showed the summit of Mount Washington, the highest point in the state, being swept away by strong gusts of wind.
“It’s an epic arctic (cold) snap”, never seen on the scale of a “generation”, in particular “something that northern and eastern Maine have not experienced since 1982 and 1988,” the NWS pointed out. Further south, in Boston and New York, it could be -15°C. The worst of the cold in the United States is expected to hit Friday night into Saturday, before temperatures rise again on Sunday.
Risk of frostbite
On the other side of the border, polar cold alerts have been issued for eastern Canada, according to the Ministry of the Environment, which warned of the risk of frostbite within minutes.
The temperature felt like -41°C in Montreal on Friday afternoon. The mercury could drop to -50°C in the more northern regions of Quebec. White smoke, called “Arctic Sea Smoke”, was billowing over the St. Lawrence River due to the extreme cold passing over the unfrozen water.
Strong gusts hit the rare passers-by in downtown Montreal on a sunny Friday. The electricity company Hydro-Québec was preparing for a historic consumption threshold to occur on Friday and Saturday and called on its customers to save energy.
Rain, snow, storms, polar cold and humid heat: the northeastern United States is subject throughout the year to extreme weather phenomena which are accompanied by loss of human life and material damage. Latest, during the Christmas weekend 2022, a blizzard and a snowstorm hit the city of Buffaloin upstate New York, killing dozens.