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Record-Breaking Bitter Cold, Dangerous Wind Chills Envelop Tri-State (page 3)

Barnegat Bay Frozen Over (Credit: Robert Burnaford )

Barnegat Bay Frozen Over (Credit: Robert Burnaford )

Frigid Temps Disrupt Air Travel

JetBlue Airways had stopped all scheduled flights to and from New York and Boston on Monday and Southwest ground to a halt in Chicago as airlines deal with a blast of freezing temperatures that has caused massive cancellations and delays.

JetBlue, which is facing hours-of-service maximum for its crews, slowly began resuming some flights Tuesday morning.

At LaGuardia Airport, a mother with a daughter bound for Chicago on American Airlines told WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane the flight was canceled Sunday, Monday and twice again Tuesday — once at the gate when many had boarded before they learned the pilot hadn’t arrived.

Some people slept on cots lined up in hallways. Said one traveler trying to catch a flight since the weekend: “It beats sleeping in a chair.”

The extreme could only last one day. It will be very cold Tuesday night before the high starts to climb back up through the rest of the week.

Working In Cold

As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, conditions were brutal Tuesday for those who work outside, especially when the wind blew.

Adio Kandiel, who works at a coffee cart on 97th Street and Broadway, said on days this cold, people don’t even stop for a cup of joe.

“It’s very bad,” he said. “But what you gonna do?”

“It’s not easy to do the job now,” said Juan, a delivery man. “I hope summer is coming quickly.”

And Sean Woods and his sign crew had to labor through the weather at work outside all day.

“It’s not ideal,” Woods said. “But work has to go on, right? So unfortunately, today is a day that we had to do it.”

Natural Gas Prices Up As Mercury Drops

The surging price of home heating oil is adding insult to injury in this extreme cold.

Natural gas prices are at an all-time high in the east.

Aaron Calder, senior market analyst with the energy consulting firm Gelber & Associates, said while the prices spiked, there won’t be sticker shock on your next utility bill.

“Utilities pay for long-term protection supply of natural gas so while you will pay a little bit more on your bill, you won’t see the five or 10 times price increase that other people are paying,” he told WCBS 880’s Steve Scott.

On Friday, natural gas in New York was going for $14 per unit. It has since spiked as high as $90.

Calder said the price increase is simply the law of supply and demand, triggered by the record cold temperatures.

“The majority of natural gas being moved in this country is moved by pipeline and the northeast has very little storage. So most all natural gas being used in the cities is brought there every day through a pipeline and there is a finite capacity. You can only put so much natural gas in the pipeline and so with the cold weather, there’s a lot of people scrambling to secure natural gas to heat their homes and to create electricity,” Calder told Scott.

Tri-State Area Bundles Up To Battle Cold

As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, there was plenty of extra misery for everyone who stood outside.

“It’s freezing,” said one woman who was outside with a baby, “and the bus hasn’t come for like 40 minutes.”

With that reality a risk, residents bundled up before they headed out the door, hoping to combat the freezing cold temperatures with plenty of layers.

But as CBS 2’s Champion reported, even the biggest fur coat didn’t always cut it.

“I was getting a brain freeze as I was walking,” said Edward Watson of Manhattan. “I had to take my scarf off to tie it around my forehead.”

On East Gun Hill Road in the Bronx, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones spoke with one resident who took experts’ advice and wore plenty of layers.

“Two pants, a skirt, two shirt, a scarf, a hat, a long coat, gloves, and I’m still cold,” Keisha Taylor said.

Even those who enjoy the cold weather told Jones that the wind is a lot to deal with.

“If it wasn’t for the wind it would be OK. I can deal with the cold, it’s just the wind that bothers me the most. But that’s what you get for the Northeast,” Tony Galand said.

The temperatures were so brutal that it made even brief outings unbearable. In a matter of minutes, Kal Siam’s coffee got cold during a brief walk in Jersey City.

But he couldn’t just go home and forget the whole thing.

“Can’t help it; got to do jury duty,” Siam said. “I would stay home but I can’t.”

And one had to wonder what Robert Aouad was thinking when he set out for what was supposed to be a 5-mile-run in Central Park.

Aouan ended up quitting his run early, cold and exhausted after about 2 miles.

“It probably felt like 20,” he said.

But for the junior varsity hockey team at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, the frozen forecast didn’t stop them from hitting the ice.

A 90-minute practice in a partially open air rink made for quite a workout.

“It’s really cold out here; my hands are freezing,” said player J.T. Swetman. “It’s too cold.”

But coach Patrick McGrath said the players could handle it.

“They were emailing me all day asking if practice was on, I said, ‘Absolutely,’” McGrath said. “I mean, if the winter classic can play, so can we.”