Photos: Brutal cold snap hits northeast US, breaking record lows

A dangerous combination of record-setting cold temperatures and powerful winds have buffeted the northeastern United States.

On Saturday, New Hampshire’s Mount Washington recorded a wind chill, a measure of how the combined effect of air and wind feels to the skin, of -78 Celsius  (-108 Fahrenheit), which appeared to be the lowest ever in the United States.

The air temperature at the peak reached -44C (-47F), with winds gusting near 160km/h (100 mph), according to the Mount Washington Observatory.

In Boston, where officials closed down the public school system on Friday due to the impending freeze, the low temperature hit -23C (-10 F), shattering the day’s record set more than a century ago, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

In Providence, Rhode Island, the mercury dropped to -23C (-9F), well below the previous all-time low of -19C (-2F), set in 1918.

The arctic blast flowing into the US from eastern Canada also brought record lows to Albany, New York; Augusta, Maine; Rochester, New York; and Worcester, Massachusetts, among other places, the NWS said.

Several cities took emergency measures to aid residents, including opening warming centres and conducting outreach to ensure homeless people were sheltered from the brutal cold.

The frigid weather was expected to be short-lived, with temperatures forecast to be significantly higher on Sunday. The high temperature in Boston on Sunday will approach 8C (47F), the NWS said.

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