Schools, COVID Test Sites Closing as New England States Brace for Subzero Temperatures

The New England region is preparing for frigid temperatures as some states announced the closures of schools and COVID-19 testing sites ahead of the extreme cold.

The area will see an "arctic blast" with temperatures below freezing and cold wind chills on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Officials for Boston's public school district announced on Monday the closure of all schools for Tuesday because of the frigid temperatures.

Forecasts in Boston show the high will only reach around 12 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 11 C), with temperatures feeling closers to minus 8 (minus 22 C) because of the wind chills, according to the National Weather Service forecast.

"We want to make sure there's no risk of students being either out in the cold on the way to school or having issues in school because of the ventilation that's needed with the pandemic," said Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.

New Hampshire decided to close four state COVID-19 testing sites in Claremont, Manchester, Nashua, and Newington due to the dangerously cold weather expected in the area, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

The National Weather Service website warned people who choose to venture out into the cold to dress in warm layers as exposed skin can lead to hypothermia or frostbite. When outdoors try and find shelter away from the wind but preferably stay indoors as much as possible.

Weather Closes COVID-19 Testing Sites
New England states announce the closure of COVID-19 testing sites and schools ahead of frigid temperatures. Above, people enter a COVID-19 testing site on February 13, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. A large winter storm dropped heavy snow across the region. David Ryder/Getty Images

Temperatures that low can result in frostbite to exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.

It could feel as low as minus 15 (minus 26 C) in some areas of Massachusetts, according to the weather service.

Forecasters said wind chill could approach minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 C) in some parts of western Maine. Central Maine Power, the largest utility in the state, said it expects to see a rise in electricity usage on Tuesday because of the use of electric space heaters and fireplaces.

The utility said it is encouraging customers to weather strip windows and open drapes to let in heat from the sun and allow sunlight to reduce reliance on electricity during the cold spell.

"We often see increased electricity usage with cold temperatures like what is expected this week," said CMP vice president of customer service Linda Ball.

Low temperatures below zero, not including the wind chill, are also expected in Burlington, Vermont, and Concord, New Hampshire. Southern New England is unlikely to be spared, as forecasters said Providence, Rhode Island, should expect a wind chill value of as low as minus one degree Fahrenheit (minus 17 C).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.