With the bitter cold snap expected to continue through the holiday weekend, officials are warning Mainers to use caution as they brave the chilly weather.
Temperatures on Thursday night dipped double-digits below zero in some parts of the state, prompting the Maine Center for Disease Control and the Maine Emergency Management Agency to advise people to avoid prolonged periods of time outside, and prepare reserves of food, batteries, and warm clothing in the event of power outages.
Cold-weather afflictions like hypothermia and frostbite can set in even after a short period of time outside, and no matter how long you plan to be out in the cold, people should bundle up in layers, the CDC warned.
Mainers traveling ahead of New Year’s Eve holiday on Sunday should pack extra windshield-wiper fluid, blankets, and have a plan in place in case their car breaks down on the side of the road, MEMA said.
And in an emergency measure Friday afternoon, Gov. Paul LePage signed a proclamation to ensure that heating oil coming in from out of state arrives on time. The order authorizes waivers for federally-employed drivers go past their regularly scheduled hours, if it means completing a delivery to Maine.
The cold front, which moved into the state Tuesday, is predicted to last until next Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
For Bangor, it could be the coldest week in 40 years. The bone-chilling weather is especially rare for December, when the city’s average temperature typically hovers in the low-20’s, according to Vic Nouhan, a forecaster with the NWS in Caribou.
Thursday night, the mercury dropped to 19 below zero — brutally cold, but still shy of the coldest December temperature ever recorded in Bangor, which was 25 below zero, in 1933, he said.
But a windchill predicted for New Year’s Eve could make the air feel almost as cold.
Wind gusts on Sunday night will make it feel as frigid as 25 below, Nouhan said, guaranteeing a chilly experience for those planning to attend the city’s annual outdoor celebration in West Market square.
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