Biting Air Breaks Records in Vermont

Burlington and Montpelier, Vermont, broke low temperature records most would have been glad to see stand. Before dawn Tuesday, the cities sunk to minus 19 and minus 23 degrees, respectively.

For Burlington, it was the coldest air on February 24 in 101 years. Montpelier’s previous low temperature of minus 12 was set in 1968, according to the National Weather Service’s Burlington office.

The air temperatures did warm up by about 30 degrees throughout the day Tuesday to get into positive territory, but wind made it feel much colder; more like 5 or 10 below zero, the NWS said.

At the Burlington International Airport, pipes were frozen in two maintenance facilities and in a FedEx building, according to Gene Richards, the airport’s aviation director. A contractor was working to thaw out the pipes and get water flowing again, Richards said.

“The frost is much deeper than it has gone in years,” Richards said. “We have not had these problems before.”

To the north, in St. Albans, a pair of water main breaks had that city issuing a boil water notice, with repairs likely to take until midday or later on Wednesday.

“I think it's fair to say it's been one heck of a winter on everybody,” St. Albans city manager Dominic Cloud told New England Cable News. “The public works staff is taking the brunt of that.”

Back in Burlington, on the city’s waterfont, some braved the biting air to play on the frozen surface of Lake Champlain. The National Weather Service reported earlier this month that Lake Champlain is frozen over, with the exception of a ferry route at the northern part of the lake between Grand Isle, Vermont and Plattsburgh, New York.

Staff members at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center have seen many people skating, walking, or taking photos on the lake’s frozen surface, said Linda Bowden of ECHO.

“We love to have folks be very cautious about what they're doing as far as walking out on the lake, but it is an interesting phenomenon, and we have seen a lot of people take advantage of it,” she said.

Many Vermont communities were far colder than Burlington Tuesday morning. Josh Wirth of Montgomery Center told NECN his home thermometer read minus 31. 

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