After a white Christmas, New England braces for bitter cold

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The biggest Christmas snowstorm in 15 years is over, but Mainers are bracing for frigid temperatures that will grip the state for the next few days.

Temperatures Tuesday are expected to reach the low 20s, but by Thursday high temperatures are expected to be in the single digits. By Thursday night, temps likely will be minus-5 to minus-10 degrees along the coast and minus-15 to minus-20 in the mountains.

“It will continue to get colder and colder each day through Thursday,” said Andy Pohl, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “With those types of temperatures, if we have any wind at all we’ll have dangerous wind chill as well. That could bring wind chill values to minus-10 to minus-20. That’s no fun.”

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The cold temperatures come on the heels of an intense but brief Christmas Day storm that prompted the National Weather Service to issue a blizzard warning for the entire state and that dropped more than a foot of snow in some areas. There were widespread reports of snow falling at a rate of 2 to 4 inches an hour Monday morning, with one report of snow falling at 5 inches an hour, according to a weather service meteorologist.

“It was fast moving, but the intensity was pretty significant,” Pohl said. “You don’t see those snowfall rates that often.”

New Gloucester hit the snow jackpot on Christmas, recording 13.1 inches of snow, according to the weather service. Other Cumberland County totals include 12.1 inches in Windham, 11.5 inches in Standish, 8 inches in South Portland and 4.5 inches in Falmouth. York County snow totals ranged from 11.1 inches in Hollis to 3 inches in Ogunquit.

Multiple communities in Androscoggin County, including Leeds and Winthrop, reported just over 12 inches of snow.

Pohl said Mainers should prepare for the cold temperatures by wearing hats and gloves to avoid frostbite and hypothermia. He also suggested people consider putting a winter safety kit in their car that includes extra gloves and hats, a flashlight with battery, snacks, socks and a cellphone charger.

National Weather Service

Boston’s Logan Airport got less than three inches of snow, but it was enough to cause a jet to slide off a taxiway on Monday evening.

On Cape Cod, winds gusting up to 76 mph brought down trees and knocked out power to thousands.

 

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