Northeast wakes up to record cold for Valentine's Day
NEW YORK — For much of the northeast United States, Valentine's Day was the coldest on record, with people bundling up for the not-so-warm embrace of teeth-chattering temperatures.
From New York and Boston to Providence, Rhode Island and Hartford, Connecticut, temperatures on Sunday morning dipped to as low as minus-40 — on Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
The National Weather Service said the temperature in New York City's Central Park fell to minus-1, a record low for the date. The last time it was below zero in Central Park was in January 1994.
"I'm dumb enough to do this," exclaimed John Male before starting a 12-mile park run on Sunday morning with two companions.
"I just always come out and I just decided not to do anything differently" — except to wear a furry tiger hat with two tails over his normal headgear, in addition to four layers of clothing.
His running partner also was wearing a tiger hat on top of the balaklava that covered her face — except the eyes.
"It's zero degrees and feels like negative 19; I'm going to sue him for personal injury after this," joked Molly Manning, a Manhattan attorney. "I'm here because they peer-pressured me to come out today. They basically made me feel like I was a wimp unless I came out."
Boston reached minus-9, breaking the record set in 1934 by 6 degrees. It reached minus-16 in Worcester, Massachusetts, breaking the 1979 record of 11 below zero. Providence hit minus-9 and Hartford minus-12, also breaking records from 1979.
In Montpelier, Vermont, the overnight temperature hit minus-19, tying a record set in 2003. And South Lincoln, Vermont, recorded 27 below zero.
Temperatures were so low in some spots they knocked out utilities. A frozen regulator left about 400 customers in Connecticut without natural gas service and officials believe extreme cold in Vermont broke a utility pole, knocking out service to about 1,500.
An emergency generator didn't kick in for Sheffield Selectboard Chairman Walter Smith, who said he lost a greenhouse full of about 500 orchids.
"I've got it working now but it's too late," he said.
The cold kept many people inside. In a New Jersey bagel shop that's usually brimming with customers on Sunday mornings, Joe Weir was among a small handful of people who sat drinking coffee.
"I just came from a church service, and it definitely wasn't as packed as it usually is," the 60-year-old Toms River man said. "We have a lot of elderly parishioners, and when the weather gets bad or real cold like this, a lot them choose to stay in and watch a Mass on TV instead of going to church. Can't say I blame them."
Temperatures were expected to climb before a winter storm already bringing snow to the Midwest moves into the region.
The storm was expected to bring 5 inches of snow to parts of Kentucky and up to 6 inches to parts of Tennessee before turning to rain.
West Virginia could see up to 9 inches of snow from the storm before it heads into the warming northeast.
The National Weather Service said up to 3 inches of snow was possible in Philadelphia and 2 inches in New York on Washington's Birthday.
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