Arctic blast blamed for Massachusetts infant's death as dangerously cold temperatures envelop Northeast

The arctic temperatures and gusting winds are now responsible for at least one death as Friday’s high winds were blamed for the death of an infant in Southwick, Massachusetts.

The winds brought a tree branch down on a vehicle driven by a 23-year-old Winstead, Connecticut, woman, according to a statement from the Hampden district attorney’s office.

The driver was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, but the infant died, authorities said.

The powerful arctic blast will bring “dangerously cold wind chill temperatures” to the Northeast through Saturday evening along with blizzard conditions through northern Maine, forecasters have warned. 

According to the National Weather Service, the following cities set record lows for Feb. 4 on Saturday: Boston; Providence, Rhode Island; Hartford, Connecticut; and Worcester, Massachusetts. The minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 23 C) temperature in Boston smashed the previous Feb. 4 record of minus 2 set in 1886. The minus 13 degrees (minus 25 C) temperature in Albany, New York, tied the record low for the date. Glens Falls, New York, set a record low of minus 24 degrees (minus 31 C), colder than the previous record of minus 22 set in 1978.

“Temperatures will be 10 to 30 degrees below average over parts of the Northeast into the coastal mid-Atlantic,” the National Weather Service said in a bulletin early Saturday. 

Wind chill warnings and advisories have been issued across New York state and New England, it said. 

The weather service added that high winds could bring power outages and damage property over the northern Rocky Mountain front and the High Plains. 

The warning comes after temperatures reached perilously low levels across the region Friday. At New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Observatory, a wind chill of minus 101 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded.

Elsewhere, schools in Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts, New England’s two largest cities, were among those closed on Friday over concerns about the risk of hypothermia and frostbite for children walking to school or waiting for buses. 

With the weather service forecasting wind chills of minus 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit for northern Massachusetts on Saturday, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu declared a state of emergency through Sunday and opened warming centers to help the city’s 650,000-plus residents cope.  

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