KEY POINTS

  • Temperatures as low as -15 degrees are expected in some parts of Massachusetts
  • Boston Public Schools canceled classes Tuesday due to the extreme cold
  • Forecasters expect the extreme cold to extend across the Northeast

The arctic blast causing extreme cold weather across Massachusetts has prompted COVID-19 testing sites and schools to shut down as temperatures are expected to go down further Tuesday. The power grid across New England states is also being threatened by the weather.

The National Weather Service (NWS) projected wind chills potentially going as low as -8 degrees Tuesday and possibly going further down as low as -15 in some parts of Massachusetts, WHDH reported.  

The NWS noted that “dangerously cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes.” Multiple testing sites across the states have canceled testing schedules due to the weather. Other testing facilities such as Tufts Medical Center provided hand warmers to people waiting in line Monday.

The UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester announced that testing has been canceled and will resume Jan. 12 due to a wind chill advisory issued in the area. On the other hand, Anna M. Cole Community Center in Boston found a way to help keep people warm as they waited for their turn to be tested. The Jamaica Plain testing facility put up a white tent with heaters for those waiting.

As for schools, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said it was best to shut down schools in advance as it is the safest measure given the bitter cold. As part of the efforts to prevent students from getting affected by the extreme weather, Boston Public Schools, Massachusetts’ largest public school district, announced Monday that classes are canceled Tuesday. The last time Boston closed schools due to cold weather was in 2015.

Central Maine Power, the state’s largest utility provider, also said it is expecting an increase in electricity usage Tuesday as households make use of fireplaces and electric space heaters.

The latest forecasts predicted the deep freeze to extend across the Northeast through Tuesday, with some parts of New England and the Northeast potentially facing sub-zero temperatures, CNN reported. The NWS Weather Prediction Center also said it is expecting more than a foot of snow on the Tug Hill Plateau of New York and parts of Upper Peninsula and Michigan.

The Weather Prediction Center forecasted heavy snow in portions of the Great Lakes and the Upper and Middle Mississippi Valley on Jan. 14. The agency said parts of the Northeast, the Great Lakes, and the Mid-Atlantic are expected to hit “much below normal temperatures” on Jan. 15.

The arrival of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in New York had people lining up for testing on December 17, 2021 Representation. A COVID-19 testing line. Experts hope the U.S. will follow suit in South Africa's downtrend in daily cases after it passed the peak of its omicron wave. Photo: AFP / Ed JONES