Winds whip frigid Hudson Valley; trains slowed, ferries halted

People bundled up for the numbing temperatures walk People bundled up for the numbing temperatures walk toward the Metro-North Railroad station in New Rochelle. (Jan. 23, 2013) Photo Credit: Xavier Mascarenas

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A barrage of Arctic air continued its assault on the Hudson Valley Thursday, forcing the Haverstraw-Ossining and Newburgh-Beacon ferries to suspend service, delaying trains on Metro-North's New Haven Line and prompting residents to wear layer upon layer in an often futile effort to keep warm.

The interrupted ferry service forced commuters to take buses to connect to Metro-North trains. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority tweeted that mechanical problems were forcing delays of up to 15 minutes on the New Haven Line in the Stamford, Conn., area Thursday morning. Normal service was reported on New York City subway lines On Wednesday, Metro-North reported widespread service delays during the morning rush hour and Amtrak service on the Northeast corridor was interrupted by mechanical problems with a bridge in Hackensack, N.J.

Tim Morrin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the Hudson Valley will face a long haul before the frigid temperatures ease.

"We've got another morning of single-digit (temperature) readings," he said. "The latest White Plains windchill reading is minus 9."

The windchill temperature, also called the "real-feel" temperature, is the perceived temperature on bare skin combining temperature and wind.

Morrin said Thursday's high will reach about 20 degrees, but that winds will kick up later Thursday, bringing even lower windchill readings.

"Temperatures will stay in the teens today," he said. "The wind will pick up a little bit even higher than (it is) now. The windchill could go into the minus teens for the rest of the day."

Temperatures tonight are forecast to dip to 5 degrees, but winds will ease.

Light snow is forecast from Friday afternoon to midnight with a total accumulation of about 1 inch.

Even light snow, however, could cause slippery conditions on frozen roads.

The chill will persist into the weekend, he said, with a high of 25 on Saturday and 29 on Sunday. Monday will see highs in the mid-30s, but Tuesday will finally bring some relief as temperatures reach the 40s, Morrin said.

"There's light at the end of the Arctic tunnel, but we'll have to persevere through it," he said.

The National Weather Service issued windchill warnings across upstate New York and northern New England.

Other areas of the country were also dealing with extreme cold.

The University of South Dakota in Vermillion offered a third consecutive night of free hotel rooms to 500 students who had to leave when a water pipe froze over an electrical room and damaged components.

One ski resort in New Hampshire shut down on Wednesday because of unsafe ski conditions -- a predicted windchill of 48 degrees below zero.

In northern Maine, the temperature dipped to as low as 36 below zero Wednesday morning. The weather service was calling for wind chills as low as minus 35 overnight into Thursday.

Keith Pelletier, the owner of Dolly's Restaurant in Frenchville, Maine, said his customers were dressed in multiple layers of clothing and keeping their cars running in the parking lot while eating lunch. It was so cold that even the snowmobilers were staying home, he said.

"You take the wind chill at 39 below and take a snowmobile going 50 mph, and you're about double that," he said. "That's pretty cold."

The cold air has been blamed for multiple deaths.

In northern New Hampshire, a man died Wednesday after crashing his snowmobile while going over a hill on Tuesday and spending a "bitterly cold night" injured and alone on a trail, the state's Fish and Game Department said.

With The Associated Press

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