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Big Chill Returns to Menace Northeast as Snow Storm Subsides

  • As New York shovels out, deep freeze could prove treacherous
  • Cold should be short-lived with milder weather seen next week

Why Investors May Need to Become Weather Experts

The fast-moving snow storm that pummeled the U.S. Northeast, grounding flights, knocking out power to thousands and causing coastal flooding, gave way to a brutal cold on Friday with dozens of cities expected to break temperature records.

The low in Manhattan could drop to 6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-14 Celsius) Friday and 4 on Saturday, with readings in Boston reaching minus-7 over the weekend, the National Weather Service said. Wind chill warnings and advisories stretch from North Dakota to Maine and as far south as Georgia.

A USPS letter carrier delivers mail in Boston on Jan. 4.

Photographer: Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg

In New York, temperatures could feel close to minus-20 in the wind, and it’ll be even colder across the Midwest and New England.

“It’s going to be a really cold weekend pretty much everywhere east of the Mississippi,” said Bob Oravec, a senior branch forecaster at the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. “Temperatures will be 20 to 30 degrees below average across a good part of the eastern U.S.”

The storm that blanketed parts of the Northeast with close to a foot or more of snow also dumped more than 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) in Charleston, South Carolina, grounded nearly 7,000 flights in two days and drove spot natural gas prices in New York up 60-fold.

Along the East Coast, 21,000 customers were without power, according to a tally of utility websites by Bloomberg. Around 1,427 flights were canceled on Friday, said FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking service.

Reduced Schedule

Across the Long Island and Metro-North railroads, delays lingered into Friday with some lines running a reduced schedule as clean-up operations began.

New York’s Central Park saw 9.8 inches of snow, while as much as 13.6 inches dropped on Queens, the weather service said. In parts of Suffolk County on Long Island, more than 16 inches fell, similar to what Connecticut saw. In eastern Massachusetts, there were reports of as much as 17 inches, and at Boston’s Logan International Airport 13.2 inches is on the ground.

Front loaders move snow at LaGuardia Airport on Jan. 4.

Photographer: Julie Jacobson/AP Photo

There was also flooding along the Massachusetts coast as ocean levels pushed tides even higher at the height of the storm.

The blizzard that lashed the Northeast is now pulling away from northern Maine and bringing heavy snow to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Winds in the major Canadian port of Halifax could reach 68 miles (110 kilometers) per hour and flooding could occur, according to Environment Canada.

For the U.S., the story now is cold. Friday’s low in Chicago could reach minus-2; St. Louis will drop to 2; and Atlanta could see 20. In addition to wind chill advisories across the northern U.S., freeze and hard freeze warnings reach from Louisiana to Florida where livestock could be hurt by the cold.

The bitterly cold temperatures should prove short-lived, according to Oravec. Forecast models show milder readings could return to much of the eastern U.S. by the end of next week.

“The weather lore of the January thaw will be coming true this year,” Oravec said. “It could be quite a turnaround. It will feel like summer, and there will be a lot of melting going on.”

— With assistance by Naureen S Malik, Mary Schlangenstein, and Jim Polson

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