Arctic blast to freeze region

  • Royalton, Vt., Police Officer Oscar Gardner, left, announces the availability of fresh coffee to volunteers at the town's warming shelter after getting approval of the brew from Emergency Management Director Brad Salzmann, right, at the Royalton Academy building on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023. With high winds and below zero temperatures, the shelter is available as needed overnight and into Saturday afternoon. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to James M. Patterson

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/2/2023 7:08:51 PM
Modified: 2/3/2023 9:28:04 PM

LEBANON — Fiercely cold temperatures will bear down on the Upper Valley starting Thursday night, an “arctic blast” that is forecasted to last into Sunday. Officials urge caution as strong, frigid winds will knock temperatures far below zero on Friday.

“We could see a few heavy snow showers with that, but the main story is going to be the frigid air mass and dangerous wind chills,” said Jerry Combs, a National Weather Service metereologist in Gray, Maine.

Following a night in the negatives on Thursday, the “highs Friday at best are going to be single digits in the upper Connecticut valley,” he said. Wind chill will leave the air feeling like 40 degrees below zero and will stay in that range through Saturday morning.

Outdoor time should be limited as much as possible, public officials are advising. The extreme temperatures and wind chill can cause frostbite within five to 10 minutes. At 30 degrees below zero, hypothermia can set in in less than 10 minutes, CBS News reported.

“This is New Hampshire, and we all pride ourselves on being able to tough out some cold weather now and then,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in a press conference Thursday morning. “But what we’re likely to encounter over the next 36 to 48 hours is going to be really unprecedented.”

Those who must go outside should dress in several warm layers. Residents are urged to check in on neighbors, particularly elderly or others who might need assistance.

“It’s a tight window, but it’s going to get so extreme so fast that we don’t want anybody to be taken by surprise,” Sununu said.

Access to sufficient heating will be crucial. In the event of lost heat, use safe alternatives such as fireplaces, wood stoves or space heaters, the Vermont Department of Health said in a notice.

Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and ensure that heat sources are venting properly.

Heat can be retained by sealing off unused rooms with towels under the door cracks, and covering windows with blankets.

The department also advises that residents be on the lookout for frostbite and know the symptoms of hypothermia, which include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion.

Due to the extreme temperatures, outdoor operations across the region are taking a pause. The Thetford transfer station will be closed Friday morning, and the Lebanon Solid Waste Facility will also roll back its hours on Saturday, closing at noon.

“I’m not aware, and the guys aren’t either, of any other time it’s been so cold that we’ve had to do this,” Lebanon Solid Waste Manager Erica Douglas said. “But I will say the outpouring of support and emails I’ve gotten in response have been so heartwarming.”

Lebanon officials have also issued a frozen pipe warning, which advises residents to wrap any exposed water pipes with heat tape, and add insulation around the water meters. Running a small amount of water through pipes to keep them from freezing can also help.

A steady drip from a faucet should do the trick, the warning said.

But the erratic weather of this winter so far offers some degree of protection, to pipes at least.

“This winter has been unseasonably warm (…) and the frost is not as deep in the ground as typical for this time of year,” the warning from the city reads. “Since this is the case, buried waterlines are less likely to freeze during this time.”

By Saturday afternoon, “it’s still going to be pretty raw out,” but conditions should start to improve, Combs, the meteorologist, said. By Sunday afternoon, temperatures are forecasted to be upper 20s to mid 30s in the Lebanon area.

“The silver lining is that this all is going to be short-lived,” Combs said. “It’s gonna recover, but it’s gonna be a rough 48 hours.”

Those in need of heating assistance or shelter can call 2-1-1.

Warming stations availablein the Upper Valley include:

Claremont — Southwestern Community Services, 96 Main St.

Hartford — Hartford Public Safety Building, 812 VA Cutoff Road in the public safety training room; Friday at 12 p.m. – Saturday at 12 p.m. 

Lebanon — Kilton Library, 80 Main St., West Lebanon; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; Lebanon Public Library, 9 East Park Street, Lebanon; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Royalton — Academy Building, 4182 Vt. Route 14; opens 4 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday, closing hours will depend on need.

Sunapee — Sunapee Safety  Ser vices lobby, 91 Sargent Road, use the red auto-dialing phone outside the front entrance to request assistance entering the building after hours; Friday and Saturday

Vershire — Vershire Town Center, 27 Center Rd.; on demand, call 802-685-4640 or 802-333-3197 to use the facility

Frances Mize is a Report for America corps member. She can be reached at fmize@vnews. com or 603-727-3242.

Sign up for our free email updates
Valley News Daily Headlines
Valley News Contests and Promotions
Valley News Extra Time
Valley News Breaking News

Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784


© 2021 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy