“Let It Go” from Disney’s FROZEN blares through the speakers at the Hunter Student Union February 7, a fitting song to describe the frigid, bitter, wintry weather that hit New York City only a few days prior on February 3rd.
Almost all of what this reporter estimated to be 25 students there were dressed in sweaters and long pants for the winter weather, but not Mo Mirza. Mirza, 19, who was dressed in a plaid green shirt and skirt with black leg warmers. “I wear skirts everywhere no matter what,” said Mirza. He said he remembered taking a shower before leaving his home in Richmond Hill, Queens, and that the biting cold made his damp hair feel frozen.
On Friday, February 3, New York City experienced severe cold temperatures brought on by an arctic cold front, according to USA Today. Officials across the Northeast and New England ordered schools closed and set up emergency plans in preparation of the severe cold. High winds had chills of 35 degrees below zero, prompting affected areas to be put under wind chill warnings and advisories.
The city’s Department of Homeless Services sent out a “code blue” that went into effect Friday evening, CNN reported. This means that people could come into the shelter system in the case of an emergency and for people to report anyone they saw on the streets as a safety measure. Officials also warned New Yorkers to stay indoors because of concerns over frostbite and hypothermia from the dangerous cold.
“If the wind wasn’t wind-ing, then it would’ve been fine,” said 21-year-old Kyla Gamaro, a developmental psychology major from Livingston, New Jersey. “But it was quite cold.”
Gamaro, wearing a sweater with white earmuffs and skirt, black Mary Jane shoes, and white star makeup under her eyes at the time of her interview, said the weather that day was “brick,” a New York slang term to describe something extremely cold.
Gamaro also wore a skirt that day despite the bitter cold. She paired it with a sweater over a T-shirt, thick socks, and boots to keep warm. Gamaro said that the cold affects her greatly due to her being anemic.
“I get really cold and my only thing is to keep going,” said Gamaro.
Carmen Shi, a 20-year-old psychology major from Queens, said that dressing for the extreme cold on Friday proved to be a difficult task. No matter the amount of layers she wore, it wasn’t enough to keep her warm.
“Even wearing thermals didn’t do much,” said Shi, who wore a sweatshirt paired with jeans and sneakers. She said that along with the thermals, she wore sweats and the biggest jacket she had that day, but they didn’t help much when the evening came.
The National Weather Service reported that heavy wind gusts had the potential to trigger power outages and cause property damage. New York City experienced wind gusts of up to 50 mph on Friday night. The New York Times reported that about 18,000 customers across Maine and New York state were without power as a result of the weather system.
Places in the city also experienced record-low temperatures, with New Yorkers seeing them plunge to four degrees Fahrenheit. The worst of it, however, was over by Saturday as temperatures began rising again. By Sunday, temperatures reached up to 50 degrees, a stark difference from only two days prior, according to The New York Times.
Sabrina Rosado can be reached at email@example.com