The coldest weather was expected Wednesday and Thursday, after which conditions should slowly moderate before returning to normal, said John Koch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service regional headquarters in Bohemia, N.Y. For the most part, temperatures have been around 10 to 15 degrees below normal, with windy conditions making it feel colder, he said.
One ski resort in New Hampshire shut down on Wednesday because of unsafe ski conditions — a predicted wind chill of 48 degrees below zero.
In northern Maine, the temperature dipped to as low as 36 below zero Wednesday morning. The weather service was calling for wind chills as low as minus 35 overnight into Thursday.
Keith Pelletier, the owner of Dolly's Restaurant in Frenchville, Maine, said his customers were dressed in multiple layers of clothing and keeping their cars running in the parking lot while eating lunch. It was so cold that even the snowmobilers were staying home, he said.
"You take the wind chill at 39 below and take a snowmobile going 50 mph, and you're about double that," he said. "That's pretty cold."
The cold air has been blamed for multiple deaths.
In northern New Hampshire, a man died Wednesday after crashing his snowmobile while going over a hill on Tuesday and spending a "bitterly cold night" injured and alone on a trail, the state's Fish and Game Department said.
Porter reported from Newark, N.J. Associated Press writer Clarke Canfield in Portland, Maine, contributed.