Feb 3, 2023
Record-Breaking Cold Sweeping Into New York, New England
(Bloomberg) -- The frigid blast from Canada sweeping into New York and New England is pushing next-day natural gas prices to a 20-year high, threatens to topple records across the region and could put New Hampshire’s Mount Washington in the stratosphere.
Temperatures at Manhattan’s Central Park will drop to 9F (-13C) Friday night, and with winds picking up throughout the region it will feel much colder, according to the National Weather Service. Boston could fall to -8, while Philadelphia will reach 10 and Washington will fall to 14 degrees. Boston schools are closed for the day.
A large, low-pressure system that’s sweeping through eastern Canada is pushing the frigid air south. That same system will draw milder air north as it moves through the region.
“It is some of the coldest air in the northern hemisphere, across northern New England, Quebec and the Canadian Maritimes,” said Rob Carolan, owner of Hometown Forecast Services, and meteorologist for Bloomberg Radio. “All day, the winds will pick up and the wind chills will get worse. They should be 20-below in Boston by noon and 30-to-35-below tonight.”
Next-day gas deliveries into a section of the Iroquois Gas pipeline that brings Canadian gas to New York were at an average of $164.80 per million British thermal units on Thursday, a 14-fold increase from Wednesday, according to Bloomberg data. That’s the highest since at least 2003. At Boston’s Algonquin City Gate Hub for Friday, delivery traded at an average of $58, up from $12 on the previous day.
Biting cold can cause frostbite in minutes, lead to sporadic power outages, delay ground and air travel and drive up energy use as people crank up thermostats to stay warm. The weather service has urged people to stay indoors. However, the frigid temperatures will be short-lived; by Sunday readings are expected to rebound into milder territory.
Windchill warnings, meaning how cold it feels between the combination of wind and temperature, stretch across most of New England, upstate New York and into Pennsylvania. Another blast of cold also is creeping into the Great Lakes and Midwest.
In Canada, extreme cold warnings stretch from Manitoba to Newfoundland and Labrador, including Montreal and Toronto, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Atop Mount Washington, New Hampshire’s highest peak at 6,288 feet (1917 meters), temperatures could drop to -50 degrees overnight, which would set a new all-time record for the weather observatory. By mid-day temperatures were -32.8 at the summit and winds were sustained at 101 miles (163 kilometers) per hour, equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane, with gusts to 120 mph.
“It’s not the place you want to be,” said Bob Oravec, a senior branch forecaster at the US Weather Prediction Center.
Winds could rise to 140 mph early Saturday and windchills at the summit could drop to a range of -100 to -110 overnight, said Alexis George, a meteorologist at the site.
Its even possible the cold air will drop the tropopause below Mount Washington’s summit, effectively putting it in the stratosphere.
The good news is, as quickly as the cold entered it will exit, said Oravec. A large low-pressure system sweeping across eastern Canada bulldozed the cold air south and as it passes it will pull milder air north.
Central Park should reach 45 degrees Sunday and near 50 on Monday.
--With assistance from Gerson Freitas Jr..
(Updates Mount Washington forecast in ninth paragraph.)
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