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Digging out: Extreme cold grips snowy Northeast

  • A man walks in the snow down a road along the shore in Scituate, Mass., Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. A winter storm slammed into the U.S. Northeast with howling winds and frigid cold, dumping nearly 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow in some parts and whipping up blizzard-like conditions Friday. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

    A man walks in the snow down a road along the shore in Scituate, Mass., Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. A winter storm slammed into the U.S. Northeast with howling winds and frigid cold, dumping nearly 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow in some parts and whipping up blizzard-like conditions Friday. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

  • A bank thermometer reads in the single digits on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in Hazleton, Pa. Northern and eastern Pennsylvania saw 6 to 8 inches of snow, while southern and western Pennsylvania saw 2 to 5 inches, the National Weather Service said. (AP Photo/Hazleton Standard-Speaker, Eric Conover)

    A bank thermometer reads in the single digits on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in Hazleton, Pa. Northern and eastern Pennsylvania saw 6 to 8 inches of snow, while southern and western Pennsylvania saw 2 to 5 inches, the National Weather Service said. (AP Photo/Hazleton Standard-Speaker, Eric Conover)

  • This Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows the blanket of snow that stretches from the Midwest across to New England after a massive winter storm moved over the region. Many areas received up to or more than a foot of snow, and the National Weather Service is warning that another system is moving across the Plains with the potential to bring more snow to the Midwest and Great Lakes regions on Jan. 4. (AP Photo/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

    This Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows the blanket of snow that stretches from the Midwest across to New England after a massive winter storm moved over the region. Many areas received up to or more than a foot of snow, and the National Weather Service is warning that another system is moving across the Plains with the potential to bring more snow to the Midwest and Great Lakes regions on Jan. 4. (AP Photo/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

  • Wilkes-Barre Area School District employee Bob Nahill clears a sidewalk in front of Coughlin High School, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Northern and eastern Pennsylvania saw 6 to 8 inches of snow, while southern and western Pennsylvania saw 2 to 5 inches, the National Weather Service said. (AP Photo/The Citizens' Voice, Mark Moran)  MANDATORY CREDIT

    Wilkes-Barre Area School District employee Bob Nahill clears a sidewalk in front of Coughlin High School, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Northern and eastern Pennsylvania saw 6 to 8 inches of snow, while southern and western Pennsylvania saw 2 to 5 inches, the National Weather Service said. (AP Photo/The Citizens' Voice, Mark Moran) MANDATORY CREDIT

  • A pedestrian uses his cross-country skies on 58th Street during his morning commute, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in New York. New York City public schools were closed Friday after up to 7 inches of snow fell by morning in the first snowstorm of the winter. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    A pedestrian uses his cross-country skies on 58th Street during his morning commute, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in New York. New York City public schools were closed Friday after up to 7 inches of snow fell by morning in the first snowstorm of the winter. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • Alex Herrick, Adam Scirico and Peter Herrick clear a section of Hampton Manor Lake to play ice hockey on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in East Greenbush, N.Y. Upstate New York on Friday had temperatures in the single digits with below-zero wind chills. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

    Alex Herrick, Adam Scirico and Peter Herrick clear a section of Hampton Manor Lake to play ice hockey on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in East Greenbush, N.Y. Upstate New York on Friday had temperatures in the single digits with below-zero wind chills. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

  • Ed Gurtis plays in the snow with his dog, Bo, in KIngston, Pa., Friday Jan. 3, 2014. Northern and eastern Pennsylvania saw 6 to 8 inches of snow, while southern and western Pennsylvania saw 2 to 5 inches, the National Weather Service said Friday. (AP Photo/The Citizens' Voice, Mark Moran)  MANDATORY CREDIT

    Ed Gurtis plays in the snow with his dog, Bo, in KIngston, Pa., Friday Jan. 3, 2014. Northern and eastern Pennsylvania saw 6 to 8 inches of snow, while southern and western Pennsylvania saw 2 to 5 inches, the National Weather Service said Friday. (AP Photo/The Citizens' Voice, Mark Moran) MANDATORY CREDIT

  • With the temperature a frightful 3 degrees Fahrenheit, Drue Ford shovels snow wearing a face mask to guard against frostbite, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in Brunswick, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    With the temperature a frightful 3 degrees Fahrenheit, Drue Ford shovels snow wearing a face mask to guard against frostbite, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in Brunswick, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • A man clears snow from a vehicle on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in Albany, N.Y.  A winter storm slammed into the U.S. Northeast with howling winds and frigid cold, dumping nearly two feet (60 centimeters) of snow in some parts and whipping up blizzard-like conditions Friday. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

    A man clears snow from a vehicle on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in Albany, N.Y. A winter storm slammed into the U.S. Northeast with howling winds and frigid cold, dumping nearly two feet (60 centimeters) of snow in some parts and whipping up blizzard-like conditions Friday. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

  • A pedestrian uses his cross-country skies on 58th Street during his morning commute, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in New York. New York City public schools were closed Friday after up to 7 inches of snow fell by morning in the first snowstorm of the winter. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    A pedestrian uses his cross-country skies on 58th Street during his morning commute, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in New York. New York City public schools were closed Friday after up to 7 inches of snow fell by morning in the first snowstorm of the winter. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • A man walks in the snow down a road along the shore in Scituate, Mass., Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. A winter storm slammed into the U.S. Northeast with howling winds and frigid cold, dumping nearly 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow in some parts and whipping up blizzard-like conditions Friday. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
  • A bank thermometer reads in the single digits on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in Hazleton, Pa. Northern and eastern Pennsylvania saw 6 to 8 inches of snow, while southern and western Pennsylvania saw 2 to 5 inches, the National Weather Service said. (AP Photo/Hazleton Standard-Speaker, Eric Conover)
  • This Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows the blanket of snow that stretches from the Midwest across to New England after a massive winter storm moved over the region. Many areas received up to or more than a foot of snow, and the National Weather Service is warning that another system is moving across the Plains with the potential to bring more snow to the Midwest and Great Lakes regions on Jan. 4. (AP Photo/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
  • Wilkes-Barre Area School District employee Bob Nahill clears a sidewalk in front of Coughlin High School, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Northern and eastern Pennsylvania saw 6 to 8 inches of snow, while southern and western Pennsylvania saw 2 to 5 inches, the National Weather Service said. (AP Photo/The Citizens' Voice, Mark Moran)  MANDATORY CREDIT
  • A pedestrian uses his cross-country skies on 58th Street during his morning commute, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in New York. New York City public schools were closed Friday after up to 7 inches of snow fell by morning in the first snowstorm of the winter. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
  • Alex Herrick, Adam Scirico and Peter Herrick clear a section of Hampton Manor Lake to play ice hockey on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in East Greenbush, N.Y. Upstate New York on Friday had temperatures in the single digits with below-zero wind chills. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
  • Ed Gurtis plays in the snow with his dog, Bo, in KIngston, Pa., Friday Jan. 3, 2014. Northern and eastern Pennsylvania saw 6 to 8 inches of snow, while southern and western Pennsylvania saw 2 to 5 inches, the National Weather Service said Friday. (AP Photo/The Citizens' Voice, Mark Moran)  MANDATORY CREDIT
  • With the temperature a frightful 3 degrees Fahrenheit, Drue Ford shovels snow wearing a face mask to guard against frostbite, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in Brunswick, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • A man clears snow from a vehicle on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in Albany, N.Y.  A winter storm slammed into the U.S. Northeast with howling winds and frigid cold, dumping nearly two feet (60 centimeters) of snow in some parts and whipping up blizzard-like conditions Friday. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
  • A pedestrian uses his cross-country skies on 58th Street during his morning commute, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in New York. New York City public schools were closed Friday after up to 7 inches of snow fell by morning in the first snowstorm of the winter. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Homeowners and motorists dug out across the white-blanketed Northeast yesterday as extreme cold ushered in by the storm threatened fingers and toes but kept the snow powdery and mercifully easy to shovel. At least 15 deaths were blamed on the storm as it swept across the nation’s eastern half.

While the snowfall had all but stopped by morning across the hard-hit Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor and many highways and streets were soon plowed and reopened, temperatures were in the single digits and teens, with windchills well below zero.

“The snow is easy to move because the air was so cold when it snowed that it’s sort of light and fluffy stuff – but, uh, it’s cold,” Avalon “Nick” Minton said as he cleared the entrance to his garage and sidewalk in Arlington, Mass. “That’s the main part. It’s cold.”

And officials from the Midwest to New England are preparing for another arctic blast in the next few days that could be even worse.

The heaviest snow fell north of Boston in Boxford, which received nearly 2 feet. Nearly 18 inches fell in Boston and in western New York near Rochester. Lakewood, N.J., got 10 inches, and New York City’s Central Park 6. Philadelphia got more than 6 inches.

Temperatures reached 8 below zero in Burlington, Vt., with a windchill of 29 below, and 2 degrees in Boston. Windchills there and in Providence, R.I., made it feel like minus 20 yesterday morning, and the forecast called for more of the same into today.

Emergency officials warned that anyone spending more than a few minutes outdoors in such conditions could suffer frostbite.

Wellington Ferreira said the cold was worse than the snow as he cleared a sidewalk in front of Johnny D’s Uptown Restaurant and Music Club in Somerville.

“My ears are frozen,” he said.

Warming centers opened across the region, homeless shelters received more people, and cities took special measures to look after those most vulnerable to the cold. Teams in New York City searched the streets for homeless people, while in Boston the police asked residents to call 911 if they saw someone in need.

In Newport, R.I., the Seaman’s Church Institute said it would stay open around the clock until the cold breaks to give mariners and others who work in or around the harbor a warm place to stay, shower and eat.

The light, powdery snow was a blessing in another respect: It did not weigh down electrical lines or tree limbs, and as a result there were only a few thousand power outages across the Northeast.

Slick roads were blamed for several traffic deaths. In addition, a 71-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease froze to death after she wandered away from her rural western New York home. And a worker in Philadelphia was killed when a 100-foot-high pile of road salt fell and crushed him.

Schools as far south as Washington, D.C., were closed yesterday. Many government offices also shut down.

Major highways in and around New York City reopened, and airports across the region struggled to resume normal operations after U.S. airlines canceled about 2,200 flights yesterday on top of 2,300 the day before.

Jeremy Shapiro, 73, of Manhattan became stranded at New York’s Kennedy Airport on Thursday. Yesterday afternoon, he was still holding out hope for a spot flying standby so he could get to Santa Barbara, Calif.

He secured a cot, a pillow and a blanket after seeing about 150 passengers sleeping on cots at the terminal.

“It looked like an infirmary from WWI,” he said.

Severe cold also gripped the Midwest yesterday . In Wisconsin, the mercury dipped to minus 18 in Green Bay, breaking by 1 degree the record set in 1979. Fort Wayne, Ind., saw a record low minus 10. And the mercury sank to 2 below zero at the Detroit airport.

Temperatures in the Midwest and the Northeast are expected to rise briefly over the weekend before the arrival of another blast of extraordinarily cold air.

The heavy weather posed the first big test for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was sworn in a day before the heavy snow arrived. De Blasio dispatched hundreds of plows and salt spreaders.

“I feel great about the response,” De Blasio said yesterday after shoveling the sidewalk at his Brooklyn home. “We are vigilant. We are not out of this yet. As a great man said, ‘It’s not over until it’s over.’”

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Friday, January 3, 2014

With the holidays in the rearview mirror, January’s cruelty took center stage late this week, as near-record low temperatures were predicted for Concord last night following Thursday’s snowstorm. And with that cruelty came varying experiences in a state known for its tough winters. A low of minus 18 degrees, without the windchill, was expected last night, challenging Concord’s record low …

Legacy Comments1

remember, NOAA predicted a warmer than usual winter using sophisticated climate models. Farmers almanac predicted colder than usual with earthworms.

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