The Latest: Big Apple ball drop is on; Boston transit woes
BOSTON (AP) — The Latest on a deep freeze across the country. (all times local):
Brutally cold weather has iced plans for scores of events in the Northeast from New Year’s Eve through New Year’s Day, but the show will go on in New York City, where people will start gathering in Times Square up to nine hours before the famous ball drop.
Authorities are warning revelers to dress in layers, cover exposed skin, lay off the booze and bring some hand warmers. They say it could be one of the coldest New Year’s Eve ball drops on record.
The coldest New Year’s Eve in Times Square came in 1917, when it was 1 degree at midnight. This year, the forecast is for 11 degrees with a wind chill around zero, which would tie for second with 1962.
Extra New York Fire Department personnel are going to be on hand to provide medical support.
The frigid conditions in Boston are taking their toll on the nation’s fifth-largest transit system.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has spent heavily to winterize what’s known as the “T″ since it was crippled by record-breaking snowfall in 2015.
But the agency reported “severe delays” on one of its lines Friday, citing a broken piece of track and a disabled train among other problems.
Keolis Boston operates the commuter rail system for the MBTA and reported delays on several of its lines.
A company spokesman says crews worked through the night to repair cracked rails and broken switches ahead of the morning commute. But he says it’s not always enough to deal with the extreme conditions.
Commuters were advised to dress in layers to stay warm while waiting on platforms.
The toll from record-breaking snowfalls and temperatures across the U.S. are starting to pile up.
Bitter temperatures and snow squalls have been blamed for a handful of deaths and are forcing organizers to cancel a long list of New Year’s celebrations.
Already winter-weary parts of the nation are dealing with a mounting number of weather-related headaches, from highway pileups to frozen pipes and a rash of car thefts.
Police in the Cincinnati area say a half-dozen cars have been stolen in recent days after being left running unattended by owners trying to warm them up.
Another foot or more snow is on the way in Erie, Pennsylvania, where residents still are trying to dig out from the more than 5 feet of snow that has fallen since Christmas Eve.
The Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies are bracing for storms that forecasters warn could cause heavy mountain snow and freezing rain.
Heavy snow is expected to fall Friday in the Pacific Northwest, across the Cascade mountains and into the northern Rockies before gradually tapering off Saturday.
As much as 2 to 3 feet of snow is possible in the highest terrain, while coastal regions are expected to see heavy rainfall.
About 30 crashes have been reported on icy roadways in Genesee County as below-freezing temperatures continue to envelop parts of Michigan.
The Flint Journal reports that the accidents started around 8 a.m. Friday with a number of the crashes on Interstates 75, 475 and 69.
The Ludington News reports about six inches of snow fell on parts of western Michigan overnight. The Mason County sheriff’s office says that has left roads snow-covered and slick in spots.
Freezing temperatures and below-zero wind chills have covered much of the northern United States this week. The National Weather Service has issued a severe storm warning and winter weather advisory until noon Friday for much of western Michigan.
Light snow and continued cold are expected this weekend across the central part of the state.
A woman in a wheelchair who was forced off snowy sidewalks into a busy Omaha thoroughfare eventually received a showy escort: a firetruck.
Firefighters driving back to their station after a call Tuesday night noticed the woman headed down a street as cars zipped past. The crew watched her almost get hit by a truck and try to get back on a sidewalk that was blocked by snow and construction items.
Fire Capt. Mike Henrich told Omaha television station KETV that it was cold out, “but the most important thing is, it was dark.” The wind child that night: minus 18 degrees (minus 28 Celsius).
The firefighters soon flipped on their lights and followed the woman until she reached her destination. She gave them a thumbs-up as they departed.
Police say an 83-year-old woman died from exposure to the cold after crashing her car in eastern South Dakota.
KELO-TV reports that police believe Nina Bradenburg left her car to look for help after crashing on a gravel road near the tiny rural town of Revillo on Saturday. Revillo lies just west of the Minnesota state line and 115 miles (185 kilometers) north of Sioux Falls.
Police officers found the car first but with no driver inside. They found Brandenburg’s body in a ditch on Sunday, where she had died of exposure. The National Weather Service says temperatures in the area fell as low as 2 degrees (-17 Celsius) overnight.
As a deep freeze sets in across half the country, officials are urging people to help those most vulnerable, especially the homeless and the elderly.
Forecasters are warning people to be wary of hypothermia and frostbite from the arctic blast that’s gripping a large swath from the Midwest to the Northeast.
The prolonged, dangerous cold weather has sent advocates for the homeless scrambling to get people off the streets and to bring in extra beds for them.
The Ohio Department of Aging says older people are at increased risk from such severe cold, from medication side effects to falling risks. The department is encouraging people to check on family members, friends and neighbors.
Animal advocates are urging people to remember their pets and not to leave them outside.