Related topics

Big Chill Hovers Over Northeast, New England

January 15, 1988

Undated (AP) _ A deep chill hung over the Northeast today, forcing the New England Power Pool to declare an emergency and urge customers throughout the region to conserve until demand and temperatures eased after daybreak.

A homeless man was found dead Thursday on a New York City steam vent, police said. Medical examiners said an autopsy would be conducted but the man apparently froze to death.

In Boston, where temperatures were near zero for two days, a man’s body was found under a block from Fenway Park today, but police said it was too soon to tell if he died of the cold, said police spokeswoman Bridgett Robinson.

Temperatures across much of New England fell below zero this morning. It was 5 below at T.F. Green State Airport in Rhode Island and 1 below in Boston. In Maine, the mercury plummeted to 8 below in Rumford, 5 below in Bath and 15 below in Aroostook County, the state’s northernmost county.

Concord, N.H., cooled to a record 19 degrees below zero. Lancaster, N.H., plunged to 28 below zero, the National Weather Service said.

But a warming trend was beginning. The temperature at Windsor Locks, Conn., went from an overnight low of 12 below zero to 5 degrees above at 11 a.m. Boston was expected to rise above freezing on Saturday.

In New York City, the thermometer registered 5 degrees early today, the same low as Thursday.

A large water main break in Manhattan closed several streets and disrupted subway service. The flow of water caused ″severe ice conditions″ at the start of this morning’s rush hour, police Sgt. James Cope said.

″Winter is definitely our break season,″ said Tina Casey, a spokeswoman for the city Department of Environmental Protection. On Monday, another major water main break occurred.

Because of the heavy demand for power, the New England Power Pool, a group of more than 90 utilities in the region, urged residential customers Thursday afternoon to conserve energy. The pool rescinded the plea at 8 p.m. when the peak power use eased, but re-instated it this morning after demand increased again only to lift it within hours..

″It looks like certain for this morning that the emergency is over,″ said Emmanuel Forde, a spokesman for Northeast Utilities, Connecticut’s largest supplier of electricity.

Demand for electricity reached a regional record Thursday evening, when usage reached 19,267 megawatts, said power pool spokeswoman Debbie Drew. The previous all-time high occurred only hours earlier, when usage reached 18,600 megawatts between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Thursday.

The consortium relies heavily on New York state and two Canadian utilities for reserve power, but the cold weather in those areas led suppliers to cut off transmissions to New England Thursday evening. The Canadian utilities resumed service to New England this morning.

Elsewhere along the East Coast, up to 2 inches of sleet and snow accumulated along the coast of South Carolina. In the state’s hilly Upstate region, many schools remained closed for a seventh day because of the remnants of 12 inches of snow that fell Jan. 7.

Update hourly