On Friday, a severe cold wave brought temperatures to record-breaking lows in the Northeastern region of the United States. On the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire, the wind chill reached a temperature equivalent to minus 108°F, which is believed to be the lowest ever recorded wind chill in the country since the calculation of wind chill started. This information was shared by Brian Brettschneider, a climate scientist from Alaska.
According to Brian Brettschneider, an Alaskan climate scientist, the reconstruction of wind chill records at Mount Washington suggests that the wind chill could have reached or fallen below minus 108°F on January 22, 1885. On that day, the temperature at the summit dropped to a record low of minus 50°F and the 24-hour average wind speed was 89 mph, which would result in a wind chill below minus 108°F. The National Weather Service reported that on Friday night, the temperature on Mount Washington dropped as low as minus 46°F with 97 mph winds.
The National Weather Service reported that daily low temperature records were set in various cities across the Northeastern region of the US. These cities include Boston, Massachusetts with a low of minus 8°F, Providence, Rhode Island with a low of minus 4°F, and Bridgeport, Connecticut with a low of 2°F. The forecast for the upcoming weekend predicts continued bitter cold in the Northeast, however, there is anticipation of warmer temperatures in the near future. The weather on Friday was characterized as “dangerously cold” due to an Arctic blast that caused wind chills to reach as low as minus 40°F.
The National Weather Service reported dangerous wind chill conditions across the Northeastern region of the United States on Friday night. An extreme wind chill of minus 62°F was recorded on Cadillac Mountain in Maine’s Acadia National Park. Wind chills ranging from minus 31°F to minus 61°F were reported in at least five counties in Maine. Additionally, wind chills below minus 32°F were reported in much of New Hampshire.
The current @MWObs was established in 1933, but there are records at Mount Washington going further back that include a -50 F reading on January 22, 1885. This is also the NH state record for the coldest temperature. Still -46 F with 97 mph winds and a -108 F wind chill at 10 pm. pic.twitter.com/iiRYs2aGfz
— NWS Eastern Region (@NWSEastern) February 4, 2023
The purpose of measuring wind chill is to raise awareness about the dangers of exposure to low temperatures. The wind chill index reflects the combined effect of air temperature and wind speed on the perceived temperature. As the air temperature decreases and wind speed increases (up to a certain point), the wind chill will also get colder. The calculation of wind chill takes into account both air temperature and wind speed to give a better representation of the actual feeling of cold.
The concept of wind chill was first developed in the 1940s by Antarctica explorer Paul Siple and polar scientist Charles Passel. It was based on experiments with near-freezing water and the time it took for the water to freeze under various wind and temperature conditions. The wind chill scale was updated in 2001, according to the National Weather Service, following tests conducted on volunteers in a chilled wind tunnel. The updated scale provides a more accurate reflection of the effects of wind and temperature on the human body.
The extreme cold weather in the Northeastern region of the United States is being caused by a combination of factors. A blast of Arctic air has reached the region, and at the same time, a rapid intensification of a storm system over the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador is producing strong winds, according to the Associated Press. These conditions have led to the dangerously low wind chills and extreme cold temperatures being experienced in the region.