Archives For Frigid Cold

Birds drawn to frozen lake’s Vermont-New York ferry channels

CHARLOTTE, Vt. — Water birds that normally spread out across Lake Champlain are seeking refuge in the channels left by two ferry routes that carry passengers between Vermont and New York during this bitterly cold winter.

Photos: Most-common backyard bird sightings

Bird watchers have been drawn to the Essex, N.Y., landing of the ferry from Charlotte in hopes of catching a glimpse of some rare birds that are usually scattered across the length of the 120-mile lake. During a winter of below-zero temperatures, the birds have been forced to forage the open water of the channels for food.

Birders hope to spot species like the single tufted duck, which is ubiquitous in Europe and Asia but exceedingly rare in the eastern U.S. It’s spending the winter in the lake along with mallards, black ducks and common goldeneyes.


Children walk to police station looking for ride to school
FARMINGTON, N.H. — A Farmington woman was arrested Tuesday after police said her three children walked to the police station to try to get a ride to school.

Police said they got a call Tuesday morning about three young-looking children walking along Main Street in cold weather. As an officer was about to leave to investigate, the children arrived at the station.

Investigators said the children were ages 5, 4 and 1, and police learned they were trying to get a ride to school. Police said Katarina Short, 26, left the children alone while she ran an errand.

Farmington Ambulance was called and checked the children out while they were given a warm breakfast from Crowley’s Variety and Grill, police said. They also were given toys by the Farmington Recreation Department.

Police said that about an hour after the report came in, Short arrived at the station looking for her children.

“She told us a friend had picked her up, and she’d gone to run an errand,” said Lt. John Drury. “She had allegedly said that she had left the kids in the care of a babysitter. When she provided us that name, that didn’t pan out to be the truth.”

Short was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child and unsworn falsification.

Police said the temperature was 2 degrees Tuesday morning. They said the oldest child dressed himself and his siblings in coats and boots.

Short was placed on $4,000 personal recognizance bail and ordered to have no contact with the children. She is scheduled to appear in court on March 18.

The children were placed in foster care, and authorities said Short will be allowed supervised visits.

Ice falls through car window 

CHELSEA, Mass. —Falling ice smashed through a car’s window and closed a street in Chelsea on Sunday.

Watch report | See photos of ice, broken window

Police closed 2nd Street between Broadway and Cherry Street because of dangerous ice, officials said.

Residents were also being warned about the ice hazard, police said.

Don Knight / The Herald Bulletin via AP

Heavy snow reduces visibility on Indiana 32 in Edgewood Ind. during a snow storm on Saturday Jan. 18, 2014.

By Elisha Fieldstadt, Staff Writer, NBC News

As meteorologists on Monday added up to 10 inches of snow to their frigid forecasts for the Northeast and Midwest this week, the regions are struggling with a lack of the essential resources residents need to keep warm.

While the cold won’t be quite as unbearable as the Polar Vortex system earlier this month, people in the Great Lakes, interior Northeast, and northern New England can expect to be shoveling, according to

Sand used to keep roads safe during snowstorms and ice buildup is running low in some states, as are the budgets to buy the sand and deploy trucks and plows. Propane stocks in many states have also hit disconcerting lows since the winter started with meager allowances and back-to-back cold spells have increased the energy dilemma for millions.

In anticipation of the cold and snow, Ohio Gov. John Kasich declared an energy emergency focused on expediting propane GAS shipments in order to mitigate tight supplies.

His declaration permits propane shippers from other states to drive more hours, which “will help get propane companies resupplied so Ohioans who use propane to heat their homes can stay warm,” Kasich said.

More than 14 million families across the U.S. use propane to fuel their furnaces, according to the Propane Education & Research Council.

Kasich followed the lead of officials in 17 other U.S. states — mostly in the Midwest and North — who declared energy emergencies and loosened rules for propane transportation from other states, most of which are effective until the end of January.

In many of these states, residents are also being urged to cut down on propane usage since supplies are limited.

“Propane customers in the Upper Peninsula should use their propane supplies wisely in the coming weeks by reducing usage and avoiding energy waste,” Michigan Public Service Commission Chairman John Quackenbush told NBC affiliate WILX on Monday.

In addition to residential propane customers, over 1 million businesses across the U.S. rely on propane.

However, the energy shortage is not just a result of families and business owners trying to keep buildings comfortable during the persistent cold spells. The Midwest started the winter with a propane deficit since a greater than usual amount of propane was used in November to dry corn crops during a rain-soaked harvest, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

“Propane prices in the Midwest will likely need to rise to keep propane in the region,” according to the EIA.

In the middle of January, average propane prices across the nation were 58 cents per gallon higher than the same period last year, EIA reported.

But states’ and Americans’ wallets aren’t only affected by the cold. Snow has also depleted winter weather budgets in a large portion of the country.

In addition to a declaration expediting fuel, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also relaxed rules pertaining to salt deliveries “due to multiple winter events that have depleted stockpiles of rock salt needed to treat roadways surfaces.”

Chicago also slashed their winter-weather budget by more than half during January’s first storm and NBC Chicago reported that most of the money was used up in vain on sand. When snow is accompanied by sub-zero temperatures, salt freezes and is ineffective.

Chicago officials announced Monday that 200 snow plows and salt spreaders would deploy during the upcoming storm “to help keep Chicago streets safe and passable,” even though the salt might not work.

The Windy City will appropriately be under a wind-chill advisory on Monday, as “feels-like” conditions could dip as low as minus-20 degrees, and lake effect snow piles on top of the 5 inches that the city already experienced over the weekend.

New Hampshire blew through half of the state’s $42 million winter-weather budget within the first week of the new year, said Bill Boynton, a spokesman with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

“These funds are used to support a fleet of 700-plus snow plows that plow and treat 4,600 miles of state highways” with salt, Boynton said. “We were out there again for much of the weekend,” he said.

Salt trucks and plows can expect to be busy again in coming days.

Winter storm warnings have been issued for New England, Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., as well as areas along the coast in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, said Chris Vaccaro, a spokesman with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Snow will begin falling from D.C. to New York Tuesday morning and build up to 4-8 inches, Vaccaro said. The Midwest and New England will see accumulations between 5-8 inches, according to

Four inches already fell over the weekend in Lafayette, Ind., and caused a fiery, 13-vehicle highway pileup that left four people injured. The National Weather Service said up to 10 inches could accumulate in Central Indiana by Monday night.

As the cold persists through Thursday, a second snowfall is likely in the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, and Northeast, according to

Storms forecast for Tuesday night, Thursday 

BOSTON —The week could see two snowstorms that bring accumulating snow for the region along with dangerously cold weather.

Hour-by-hour snowfall predictor

Forecasters are tracking a coastal storm that is expected to bring several inches to the region Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday morning.

“By (Tuesday’s) end, we’re looking at some snow pressing up into southeastern Massachusetts and that snow becomes more widespread by Wednesday morning. So your Wednesday morning commute will likely feature some snow,” Stormteam 5 meteorologist Cindy Fitzgibbon said.

Storm Team 5 video forecast

“The greatest confidence (for snow) will be along the south-southeast shoreline,” the National Weather Service said on its website.

Fitzgibbon said the heaviest snow will be in in southeastern Massachusetts where 4 to 8 inches will fall.

For much of the rest of the area, 2 to 4 inches of snow was predicted.

“If this storm tracks a little closer to us, we could push some of these higher numbers off to the north and west,” Fitzgibbon said.

It is the promise of bitterly-cold weather that prompted the most serious warning.

“The combination of winds and arctic air will make for very cold windchill values that present the threat of frostbite and hypothermia Tuesday night into Wednesday morning,” the weather service said.

Fitzgibbon added that forecasters are watching another storm for Thursday night, though the track was uncertain.

“There is the possibility for significant snow. There is some question as to the strength of arctic air keeping the storm track south,” the weather service said.

Red Cross providing shelter, food

American Red Cross

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. —A water leak at the YMCA in Cambridge Sunday night has displaced 98 residents, according to the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross said it is supporting a shelter at 61 Willow St. in Cambridge for the affected residents.

Anyone displaced is being bused to the Frisoli Youth Center, where the Red Cross is providing pizzas, cots and blankets.

No injuries reported in Concord incident

CONCORD, Mass. —The extreme cold caused a sprinkler pipe to burst at a hospital in Concord on Friday.

The pipe burst in the waiting area outside the Emergency Department at Emerson Hospital.

The leak has been patched, but patients are being moved to different areas as the cleanup continues and electrical systems are checked.

“Several patients in the Emergency Department were relocated to different ED treatment bays but no patients were evacuated,” the hospital said in a statement.

There were no reports of any injuries.