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Record-breaking Low Temperatures Hit Eastern United States

“Wind chill warnings and advisories are in effect from Maine to North Carolina,” reports the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Winter Storm Grayson reached the eastern United States, bringing with it record low temperatures and snowfall.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that temperatures are expected to remain at 20 to 30 degrees below historic averages in the northeast.

These extreme temperatures are the result of “brisk winds across the region combined with this Arctic airmass.” 11 deaths have been confirmed in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Some reports put the death toll as high as 18.

While the worst of Winter Storm Grayson has passed, the effects are still being felt across the country. More than 4,000 flights were cancelled due to the storm. Flights out of John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports in New York City were temporarily suspended on Thursday as a result of the storm.

“Wind chill warnings and advisories are in effect from Maine to North Carolina,” reports NOAA. The southeastern United States is also experiencing unusually low temperatures, although is not at as high of a risk for dangerous conditions.

Cold and snowy conditions

Snowfall reached as much as 22 inches in some parts of the northeast. Even areas of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida received snowfall as the storm made its way through the region.

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour.

NOAA Satellites shared that “this type of rapidly intensifying storm with hurricane force winds in this part of the globe during winter is rare” on social media.

Extreme low temperatures coupled with intense wind led to wind chill temperatures measuring 25 to 40 degrees below zero in some parts of New England. The Science of Wind Chill explains that wind chill is “how cold it actually feels on your skin when the wind is factored in.”

Winter weather safety

“We will continue to monitor the storm and have deployed hundreds of assets and personnel across the state and on Long Island, ready to respond and assist impacted communities,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Increased winds, such as occurred this week during Winter Storm Grayson, make it more likely for those exposed to develop frostbite or experience other adverse effects.

Wind chill warnings, issued by the National Weather Service when “dangerously cold wind chill values are expected or occurring” signal the most dangerous conditions. The National Weather Service advises those in areas of wind chill warnings to avoid staying outside, the dress in appropriate clothing with multiple layers, and cover exposed skin. They also recommend keeping others informed of your whereabouts, especially when you do plan to go outside.

Hypothermia, a life-threatening condition in which the body is unable to maintain its temperature, also occurs with increased frequency during severe winter weather.

New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester as a result of the storm.

“We will continue to monitor the storm and have deployed hundreds of assets and personnel across the state and on Long Island, ready to respond and assist impacted communities,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Regions are now recovering from the impact of the storm. Flights have resumed in all airports, although delays have impacted many travel plans.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Katie Begley

Katie Begley is a US Naval Academy graduate and former Surface Warfare Officer. In addition to being a military spouse, she is a freelance writer specializing in travel, education, and parenting subjects. Katie has worked in numerous communications roles for volunteer organizations and professionally for a local parenting magazine.

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