Bitter cold, dangerous wind chill warnings sweep Midwest, Northeast
Bitter cold is forecast to freeze Northeast states through the weekend, and hundreds of thousands of Texans are still without power on Friday morning following a deadly ice storm that was responsible for the deaths of at least 10 people.
More than 243,000 customers in Texas were left in the dark, as well as over 56,000 homes and businesses in Arkansas and 15,000 in Mississippi as of 9 a.m. ET, according to outage tracker PowerOutage.US.
“We had hoped to make more progress today,” said Jackie Sargent, general manager of utility Austin Energy. “And, that simply has not happened.”
Austin officials backtracked on early estimates that power would be fully restored by Friday night and said they no longer had a timeline for restoration, as the damage was worse than initially determined.
UPPER MIDWEST, NORTHEAST BRACING FOR ARCTIC BLAST BRINGING SUB-ZERO TEMPS, ‘LIFE-THREATENING’ WIND CHILL
The freeze was blamed for at least 10 traffic deaths in Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
However, the southern states were expected to get some relief due to rising temperatures in the region.
Meanwhile, in the northern U.S., an arctic cold front is expected to shift over the Plains, Midwest and Northeast, sending wind chill in some areas plummeting below minus 50 degrees.
POLAR VORTEX PROMPTS WIND CHILL WARNINGS ACROSS NORTHEAST AS COLDEST AIR IN OVER 5 YEARS LOOMS
New Englanders were warned that the wind chill could “be the coldest felt in decades.”
“We take safety really seriously in the higher summits,” Jay Broccolo, director of weather operations at an observatory on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, said, “and this weekend’s forecast is looking pretty gnarly, even for our standards.”
The National Weather Service said Friday that temperatures would be 15 to 35 degrees below average over parts of the upper Mississippi Valley, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and the Northeast. On Thursday, the agency warned residents to limit time outside and dress in layers, as frostbite and hypothermia can occur in a matter of minutes.
Fox News’ Janice Dean said the cold snap would be short-lived.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.