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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 18 January, 2019

Frozen iguanas falling from trees in Florida as record-breaking cold spells continue

In Boston, rescue services had to rush to the aid of people trapped by icy waters in their vehicles.

FORECASTERS IN THE US are warning that the weekend will bring record-breaking cold spells.

“Arctic air mass and dangerously cold wind chills are expected across much of the eastern two-thirds of the country through this weekend,” the National Weather Service said.

“Many daily temperature records may be broken.”

PA: Philadelphia braces for Bomb Cyclone Grayson Professional snow removal crews work as the region feels the impact of the 'Bomb Cyclone' winter in Philadelphia Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Flights resumed from the region’s bustling airports in Boston and New York, although 20% were again cancelled at John F. Kennedy airport and 30% from La Guardia, the FlightAware website said.

Boston’s Logan airport also saw 30% of its flights axed.

Yesterday, heavy snowfall, glacial temperatures and high winds sparked by a “bomb cyclone” storm had combined to force the cancellation of some 4,300 flights, while another 3,500 were delayed.

Parts of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia got more than a foot (30 centimeters) of snow, according to NWS data.

US: Bomb cyclone snow storm slams New York Bomb cyclone snow storm slams New York Source: Erik Mcgregor via PA Images

Local authorities deployed thousands of snow plows to clear roads that had been blanketed.

In and around Boston, authorities raced to clear debris left behind by historic flooding, which was triggered by huge waves that accompanied the first major storm of the season.

Rescue services had to rush to the aid of people trapped by icy waters in their vehicles or forced from their homes by rising seawater, even in the historic area of the city, The Boston Globe said.

More than 10,000 people lost electricity across Massachusetts, although almost all of them had their power restored today, according the National Grid website.

Icy waters 

As forecast, temperatures plunged today – despite sunny conditions, they were not expected to rise above 12 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 11 Celsius) in New York and Boston.

Later in the evening, the mercury was to drop ever lower across the region, and winds could gust as fast as 40 miles (60 kilometers) per hour, adding to the big chill.

But the NWS said that after the freezing blast that began just after Christmas, temperatures could rise to above the seasonal average next week.

Southern chill 

The cold wave has extended the length of the US east coast. In usually balmy Florida, iguanas were reported to be falling out of trees.

“We do not encourage members of the public to ‘rescue’ cold-stunned iguanas by taking them indoors or otherwise trying to warm them up.” Sarah Lessard, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, told AFP.

They are wild animals and could try to defend themselves.

For travellers who had escaped to warmer climes, there was also bad news: the tail end of the massive storm system had a chilling effect on tropical Central America, where temperatures sank from Guatemala to Costa Rica.

Two homeless men reportedly froze to death in Costa Rica’s capital San Jose, where the mercury plunged as low as 10 degrees Celsius, well below the usual 25 degrees.

- © AFP, 2018

Read: Shark froze to death as freezing cold continues to grip large sections of the US>

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