A deadly cold wave intensified in much of the Northeast and Great Lakes region Monday, sending the temperature plunging to almost 30 below zero in upstate New York, setting record lows in nearly two dozen cities and prompting relief officials to rush the homeless to warm shelters.
In New York City, an unidentified man in his late 50s was found dead Monday on an icy park bench, apparently a homeless victim. Earlier, police reported a homeless man known to his friends only as "Donio" apparently died of the cold on a Brooklyn street Sunday.The temperature dropped to 5 degrees in Central Park Monday morning, breaking the record for the day of 9 set in 1960. New York City police said they have picked up 19 people and taken them to shelters under a cold weather emergency order.
National Weather Service meteorologist Ken LaPenta said the coldest spots in New York State were in the Adirondack mountain communities of Piseco and Saranac Lake, where it fell to 28 below zero - the coldest in the nation. Saranac Lake police said the cold prevented many cars from starting.
"We have this big arctic air pressure system that's bringing in the cold," LaPenta said. "It'll be another cold one tonight and it'll probably break another record."
Clifford Black, a spokesman for the passenger rail system Amtrak, said some trains on the busy Northeast corridor were jammed with people during the morning rush hour.
"It happens on the first real cold day," he said. "People find out that the battery needs changing in their car."
Throughout the system, Amtrak trains experienced only slight delays because of the weather, he said, usually because of frozen doors or switches.
The temperature fell to 12 below zero in Albany, N.Y., breaking the old mark of 6 below set in 1977. In Syracuse, N.Y., the temperature plunged to 10 below. The old record was 4 below set in 1977.
In Buffalo, N.Y., it was 8 below, breaking the 1960 record low of 4 below and in Rochester the temperature plummeted to 8 below. The old record for Rochester was 2 below set in 1977. In Binghamton, N.Y., it was 10 below. The previous record low was zero in 1962.
"I think summer's over," joked a man on a frigid corner in Trenton, N.J., where the temperature fell to 5 degrees. "I think it really is."