Baby it’s Cold Outside


Grace Keith, Contributing Editor

Throw on an extra sweater, pour a hot cop of cocoa, and throw another log on the fire, because baby it’s been cold outside. Ninety percent of the United States entered the New year at below freezing temperatures, including many southern regions. The hard weather that hit our area and put many families into lock down, has been referred to as the “bomb cyclone”.

So, what made this crazy arctic rush a” bomb cyclone”? The fast drop in air pressure is what caused scientists to give this weather such a dramatic name. According to the New York Times, “By definition, the barometric pressure must drop by at least 24 millibars in 24 hours for a storm to be called a bomb cyclone; the formation of such a storm is called bombogenesis.” This drop in barometric pressure happens when cold air and warm air meet, moving the air which conflicts with the natural rotation of the earth creating a cyclone effect. Additionally, the earth’s rotation in the northern hemisphere is counterclockwise, leading to a formation of winds from the northeast, hence the name, “Nor’Easter.” This is what happened on January 3rd in the North East.

The Bomb Cyclone affecting all parts of the US, and resulted in frigid flooding along the coast. According to CBS news, “In New England, the powerful winds brought coastal flooding that reached historic levels in some communities with icy water overflowing piers, streets and restaurants and stranding some people who had to be rescued.” The waters on the coast of Boston flooded streets and trapped cars. In Plymouth, partially frozen seawater breached a protective water wall and flooded local homes.

New Years Eve in the Big Apple reached a low of nine degrees Fahrenheit, the second-lowest midnight temperature during the New Years celebration since 1907.  According to US News, “more than 100 million people from Canada to Mexico were under wind chill warnings and advisories Tuesday.” Places that are typically sunny and humid such as Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida, are under freeze warnings for the majority of the week.

According to data from the, “Southeast Regional Climate Center,” the following cities suffered through the record-breaking low temperatures over the stretch of Dec 23- Jan 5:

  • Bangor, Maine
  • Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Flint, Michigan
  • Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Duluth, Minnesota
  • Rockford, Illinois
  • Waterloo, Iowa
  • Lincoln, Nebraska

Also according to The Weather Channel, “Dozens of other cities from the northern Rockies to Texas to the Great Lakes and East Coast had at least a top-five-coldest two-week stretch ending Jan. 5, according to the SERCC.” The notorious Mt. Washington, one of New England’s favorite ski spots, recorded a temperature in the negative 30’s, with a wind chill that dropped that temperature all the way to the negative nineties.   The coldest temperature alone, without windchill, was -45 degrees Fahrenheit located in  Embarrass, Minnesota, and Hettinger, North Dakota, on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, respectively.

The Weather Channel was hard at work recording the lowest temperatures in certain cities during the cold stretch. Boston recorded a daily average temperature of negative 2 degrees on January 7th.  Also “In Boston, Jan. 2 marked the record-tying seventh day in a row with temperatures remaining at or below 20 degrees. The previous record for consecutive days the city has seen temperatures stay below 20 degrees was set Dec. 29, 1917, to Jan. 4, 1918.”  Nearby in New York City, a code blue was called, meaning that all homeless people must be offered a warm place to take shelter. NYC’s record low temp was 9 degrees, taken at the JFK airport on Friday morning.