Piles of snow from Winter Storm Frankie and a bitter arctic blast settled over much of North America have proven to be a miserable and deadly combination.
The bitter cold that has reached temperatures as low as negative 36 degrees Fahrenheit in International Falls, Minnesota, this week has been responsible for a slew of unusual reports, including the death of a dog left to freeze to death on a front porch, as well as sharks succumbing to the elements. It’s so cold, in fact, that the annual Lobster Dip at Old Orchard Beach in Maine was rescheduled for the first time in 30 years, the Associated Press reports.
On Saturday, wind chills as cold as negative 55 degrees Fahrenheit were recorded in North Dakota, according to weather.com senior meteorologist Jon Erdman, and the cold doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon.
Overnight and into Saturday afternoon, an additional 16 inches of lake effect snow fell on a record 65 inches that fell earlier in the week in Erie, Pennsylvania. So far, more than119 inches has accumulated in Erie this month.
An ice storm hit the Chilliwack, Washington, area Friday night, downing trees and causing power outages. As of Saturday, 15,000 people remained without power in the state, according to poweroutage.us. In neighboring Oregon, two people were killed in a fiery head-on crash involving two tractor trailers, and a juvenile was killed after a 20-year-old driver tried to pass and lost control on Interstate 90 near Coeur d’Alene late Friday.
No one was injured after an avalanche near Lincoln, Montana, buried a car to its roof and caused a truck to crash.
On the other side of the country, the cold caused “severe delays” with Boston’s transit system because of cracked rails and broken switches, the Associated Press reports.
In Pennsylvania, a crash involving more than a dozen vehicles forced the closure of the Schuylkill Expressway. Several injuries were reported. Authorities are investigating the crash but say condition were slippery at the time of the crash, AP reports.
Here are images of some of the damage our crews encountered earlier today in Whatcom County. Safety first! Never touch downed power lines because they might be energized. Call us at 1-888-225-5773 or call 911 to report problems. pic.twitter.com/kDcXcym3NR
— Puget Sound Energy (@PSETalk) December 30, 2017
— Rob i (@jnrgreenscapes) December 30, 2017
The cold has been responsible for several deaths from exposure, including a man who was found dead at a Cincinnati, Ohio, bus stop. Police discovered the body of Kenneth Martin, 55, the morning after Christmas. His death was a result of the bitter cold, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
The body of an 83-year-old woman was discovered Christmas day after she crashed her car in eastern South Dakota, AP reports. Nina Bradenburg reportedly died of exposure after she left her car to seek help.
Cape Cod or Antarctica? And to think we got another week of this cold too… pic.twitter.com/I2UjO6huPr
— Nick Haveran (@nhaveran) December 29, 2017
Further north in Toledo, a dog was found frozen solid curled up on a porch, The Toledo Blade reports. The area Humane Society is investigating, promising to pursue animal cruelty charges against the person or persons who neglected the dog.
“I don’t know how long she was out there,” Megan Brown, a cruelty investigator with the humane society, told the Blade. “She was frozen solid.”
In Massachusetts, two sharks died after going into “cold shock,” according to officials with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. The sharks were found Thursday after they became stranded off the coast.
Warnings and Recommendations
It’s so cold that the Indiana Department of Transportation warned residents in a tweet that salt is only minimally effective on roadways between 10 and 15 degrees Fahrenheit, and ineffective below 10 degrees.
In Omaha, firefighters provided an escort for a wheelchair-bound woman who had been forced off a snowy sidewalk onto a busy thoroughfare in the dark, AP reports. The firefighters reportedly noticed the woman on the street after a run and escorted her safely to her home.
But despite the snow and the bitter cold, New York City says the show will go on New Year’s Eve. Authorities say it may go down in the history books as one of the coldest New Year’s Eve ball drops on record and organizers are reminding the public to dress appropriately in layers for the yearly event and to avoid alcohol, the AP reports.