Bitter cold to continue through weekend

BENNINGTON — With temperatures in the region hovering close to or below zero, forecasters warn an arctic air mass will keep southern Vermont in a frigid grip.

A surge of arctic air will make it bitterly cold through the final days of 2017, according to the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y. No significant snowfall is expected through the next several days. A chance of light snow after 11 a.m. is forecast for Saturday, when a high of 14 degrees is expected, but southwest winds from 3 to 7 mph means wind chill values could drop as low as -12 degrees.

On Friday, a low of -9 degrees was observed at 4:30 a.m. and a high of 6 degrees at 3:12 p.m. at the Morse State Airport in Bennington, according to data from NWS. The normal late-December readings at the Bennington airport weather observation station range from 14 to 33 degrees. On Thursday, a high of 8 degrees at the Albany International Airport broke a record low maximum temperature for the dateof 14 degrees set back in 1894.

The cold temperatures affected the Congregation Beth El in Bennington. A burst pipe filled the synagogue's basement with upwards of nine inches of water on Thursday. morning, a letter to the congregation's community stated. And pipes froze in several of the sanctuary's heating units. "Over the next days, repairs will begin and the full extent of the damage assessed," the letter stated.

AAA reported that service stations were responding to numerous calls for help. AAA of Northern New England responded to nearly 7,000 calls for service on Thursday in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. The most common culprit: A dead battery.

Elsewhere across the country, already winter-weary parts of the country are dealing with a snap of cold weather. Bitter temperatures and snow squalls have been blamed for a handful of deaths and canceled a long list of New Year's celebrations.

Icy roads in central Michigan caused more 30 crashes on highways near Flint on Friday morning. Coastal South Carolina saw a rare bout of freezing rain and drizzle on Friday that forced bridges from Charleston to Myrtle Beach to shut down for de-icing.

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. Cincinnati police warned in a tweet that leaving your car running means "the only person who will be warm is the thief who stole your car."

Frigid conditions in Boston took their toll on the nation's fifth-largest transit system.

The National Weather Service predicts another blast of arctic air will chill much of the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. through the weekend and into 2018.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Ed Damon can be reached at, at @edamon_banner on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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