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Records lows set as Arctic air descends into Northeast

Arctic air set record lows across the Northeast Saturday morning, bringing dangerously cold sub-zero temperatures and wind chills that dropped to 45 to 50 degrees below zero in some areas.

Record lows were set on Saturday morning in the following cities, according to the National Weather Service:

  • Boston
  • Providence, Rhode Island
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Worcester, Massachusetts

Boston's record of 10 degrees below zero smashed the last record of two degrees below zero, which was set in 1886. In Albany, New York the temperature was 13 degrees below zero, which tied the previous record. Glenn Falls, New York, set a record low of minus 24 degrees. 

The wind chills forecast for early Saturday can cause frostbite on exposed skin in just 10 minutes. Even if bundled up, the extreme cold can be dangerous for someone who's outside for an extended period.

Most people heeded warnings to stay inside on Saturday, but some people had little choice but to go out.

Gin Koo, 36, braved the cold to take his Boston terrier, Bee, out for a necessary walk.

"I can't remember it being this cold, not since 2015," said Koo, who was wearing three shirts and a down jacket, as well as a hat and a hood. Bee still shivered despite his doggie coat. "I wouldn't go out if I didn't have to."

Paul Butler, 45, who has been homeless since he was evicted in December 2021, took shelter in South Station, the Boston transit hub that authorities kept open overnight so unhoused people had somewhere warm to stay.

Boston, like many communities, opened warming centers.

"This is the coldest I ever, ever remember, and I worked the door at a bunch of clubs for 15 years," said the former Marine, who carried two bags with extra clothes and blankets.

In New York's Adirondack Mountains, Old Forge recorded a temperature early Saturday of 36 degrees below zero. Temperatures plunged into the negative teens in dozens of other cities and towns, with wind chill making it feel even colder. Peak winds late Friday exceeded 50 mph (80 kph) in some areas.

Mackenzie Glasser, owner of Ozzie's Coffee Bar in Old Forge, said frigid temperatures are just part of living in the Adirondacks.

"I even had customers for the first hour that I was open, and I wasn't expecting that at 7 a.m. So I don't think it's keeping too many people away," she said.

The good news is that the cold air is expected to move out of much of the region by Sunday, when temperatures could rise to the 40s.

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