Records fall, ferries freeze as eastern US faces arctic cold
Arctic air plunged parts of the Southeast and mid-Atlantic into deep freezes and broke records Friday.
The cold snap followed snow and ice storms earlier in the week, and weather forecasters warned that more sleet and freezing rain will be possible in the coming days.
Residents also had to deal with more school cancellations, power outages, road hazards and water main breaks.
Here's a look at the latest weather and the effect it is having around the country:
FERRIES FROZEN OUT
A Boston-bound commuter ferry carrying more than 100 passengers had trouble steering in the ice and had to be towed to port.
The ferry Massachusetts departed Hingham at about 8:30 a.m. Friday right behind an ice breaker, said Alison Nolan, an official with Boston Harbor Cruises. After the ferry went off course, the ice breaker towed it to Boston.
The Massachusetts arrived at about 10 a.m., about 45 minutes later than normal. No one was hurt and the boat was not damaged.
Ferry service was canceled elsewhere in the Northeast. The Cape May-Lewes Ferry, which connects Delaware and New Jersey, halted operations because of ice and wind. Ferries on New York's East River also were canceled.
BONE-CHILLING AND RECORD-BREAKING
Bitter cold temperatures have shattered decades-old records from Cincinnati to Washington to New York.
The National Weather Service said the low Friday got down to 6 degrees at Reagan National Airport, just across the Potomac River from Washington. At Baltimore's airport, the temperature dipped down to a record low 2 degrees.
In western Pennsylvania, temperatures dipped to minus 18 in New Castle, minus 15 in Butler and 6 below zero in Pittsburgh all records.
Records also were set at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey (1 degree); Trenton, N.J. (zero degrees); New York's Central Park (2 degrees); and Cincinnati (12 degrees below zero).
YOU THINK IT'S COLD WHERE YOU ARE?
Temperatures dropping close to 0 degrees at home? That's nothing to folks in Embarrass, Minnesota.
On Thursday, the community reported a temperature of 41 below zero without the wind chill factor.
Forecasters say that's the lowest recorded temperature in northern Minnesota this winter.
Elsewhere in Minnesota, it was 31 below zero in Ely and Fosston, and 28 below at Bemidji.
The National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory for parts of the state.
NIAGARA FALLS SPECTACLE DRAWS TOURISTS
The deep freeze transformed Niagara Falls into an icy spectacle, encasing the trees around it into crystal shells and drawing tourists who are braving below-zero temperatures.
The Niagara River is flowing below the ice cover, so the falls aren't completely frozen.
But days of subzero temperatures have created a thick coating of ice and snow on every surface near the falls, including railings, trees and boulders. The massive ice buildup has become a tourist magnet.
Delaware State Police say at least 16 children suffered minor injuries when three school buses they were riding were involved in a chain-reaction crash.
It happened about 4 p.m. Thursday in Bridgeville. Troopers say three school buses were traveling north when the first bus slowed because of icy road conditions. Officers say the third bus slid on the ice and rear-ended the second bus, which then hit the first bus.
Authorities say the buses were carrying 3rd- to 5th-grade students from the Woodbridge School District.
Police say at least 16 children were taken to hospitals. The bus drivers were not hurt.
Troopers say no charges are expected.
BACK TO SCHOOL IN CHICAGO
With the National Weather Service forecasting higher temperatures, Chicago Public School students returned to class.
Chicago school officials announced schools would reopen Friday for the district's nearly 400,000 students.
District officials ordered a cold-weather day for Thursday, when temperatures stayed in the single digits. The wind made it feel like temperatures were double digits below zero. Numerous other school districts were also shut down.
The weather service is forecasting high temperatures near 20 in northeastern Illinois for Friday, with wind chills near 15 to 25 degrees below zero in the morning.
ICY MARSH RESCUE
Firefighters in Revere, Massachusetts, rescued a man and his two dogs from an icy marsh.
Authorities say the dogs ran into the marsh Thursday morning and became stranded when a piece of ice they were on floated about 500 feet from the shore. The man tried to rescue the dogs, but got stuck in waist-high water and started having chest pains.
Firefighters pulled the man to safety and brought him to Massachusetts General Hospital. His name and condition haven't been released.
Rescuers then used an ice sled to retrieve the dogs from the floating ice. One of the dogs was uncooperative at first and bit the hand of a firefighter, who wasn't seriously hurt.
The dogs are OK.
FROZEN BASS FISHING
In South Carolina, the start of the three-day Bassmaster Classic is being delayed about 90 minutes, pushing first launch to about 8:30 a.m. Friday when temperatures were under 20 degrees.
Still, the competitors will cast their lines amid finger-chilling temperatures when they head out on sprawling Lake Hartwell, located along the border of South Carolina and Georgia.