The US And Canada Suffer Hardest Cold Snap In 24 Years

If you've been complaining about the bitter cold that made the run-up to Christmas one of the coldest in living memory, then spare a thought for those who are across the Atlantic in Canada and the USA.

Because while it's been pretty damn chilly over here, it's been absolutely freezing over there. Brass monkey weather. As cold as your ex's heart. Just take a look at this map of temperatures from yesterday:

Credit: University of Maine / Climate Change Institute

In fact, Canada's Arctic blast has been so severe that nobody under 24 has ever experienced temperatures so cold in the period between Christmas and New Year - they plunged to below zero Fahrenheit with a wind chill factor of -40.

To put that in perspective that's -17 degrees Celsius with a wind chill factor of -40 Celsius. No, that's not a typo. Minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit is also -40 degrees Celsius, making it the point at which the two scales are equal.

To put that in even more perspective, Canadians - who are used to sub-zero temperatures and who are able to function normally with more than six feet of snow falling on them every day - have been warned by authorities to cancel any plans to ice skate for fear of frostbite.

And in some of the coldest areas in Alberta and Saskatchewan residents have even reported that windows have been cracking due to the ridiculously cold temperatures.

Cassadega in the snow
Cassadega in the snow

Cassadega, New York. Credit: PA

On the other side of the border it's almost as bad - apparently, the only places where it's relatively warm are in the southwest and southern Florida.

In upstate New York, on the other hand it was -39 degrees Fahrenheit while at the top of Mt Washington in New Hampshire, where there's a weather observatory manned all year round, wind chill hit -88 Fahrenheit. That's almost -67 degrees Celsius. Imagine having to work that shift and getting to work.

Of course, not many people have jobs at the tops of mountains, but even those in big cities like Chicago, New York and Boston are seeing temperatures of at least around -10 degrees Celsius.

This tweet pretty much says it all:

So really, it's not been that bad here in the UK. Grey and rainy, but nothing that's not bearable and it already feels like the weather's getting warmer.

Across the Atlantic, computer models that predict weather patterns are suggesting the frigid conditions are going to last until at least 10 January. Not such a happy new year, then.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Mischa Pearlman

Mischa is a freelance journalist usually based in either New York or London. He has written for Kerrang!, Record Collector, NME, the New York Observer and FLOOD magazine, among others. Contact him at [email protected]

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