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Parts of Maine are experiencing the coldest temperatures in 40 years

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Wicked cold in New England. Temperatures fell last night between 10 to 20 degrees below zero in much of Maine. Strong winds made it feel much colder. As Murray Carpenter reports from Maine Public Radio, the weather is leading to cancellations and warnings.

MURRAY CARPENTER, BYLINE: The National Weather Service was predicting some of the coldest windchill temperatures in decades for much of Maine.

MICHAEL BAUMANN: This weekend, it's going to be wicked cold, probably the coldest we've seen in years.

CARPENTER: Dr. Michael Baumann is the chair of the emergency department at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

BAUMANN: Coupled with the wind chill, it's going to be really difficult on exposed skin. So it's going to be very easy to get frostbite this weekend, and if you're out for a prolonged period of time, to get hypothermia.

CARPENTER: The Maine Emergency Management Agency has posted a list of warming centers. And officials are encouraging people to keep pets inside and check on their neighbors. Sam Chamberlain works for Preble Street in Portland, which provides services for unhoused people. Chamberlain is encouraging people to use warming centers, and he's distributing cold weather gear for those who won't.

SAM CHAMBERLAIN: We have a fair supply of sleeping bags and blankets and gloves and hats and clothes that we can distribute to folks that may choose to not enter a warming center this weekend.

CARPENTER: The weather's causing some Mainers to change their plans, even those who love cold weather. Randy Sullivan says he's a hardcore ice fisherman, and he's used to cold weather, but he's not fishing Saturday.

RANDY SULLIVAN: With the negative temperatures like that, it can be tolerable, and when you add the wind to it, that's when it really becomes dangerous. I think I'll probably just stay right next to my woodstove.

CARPENTER: Some Maine ski areas are closed due to the cold. And at Camden Snow Bowl, the first day of the National Toboggan Championships is canceled. Mark McGowan came up from Connecticut for the race.

MARK MCGOWAN: So we're going to have to change our plans. And now it's going to be barhopping Friday, barhopping Saturday, tobogganing on Sunday.

CARPENTER: Maine temperatures are forecast to rebound into the 30s by then.

For NPR News, I'm Murray Carpenter.

(SOUNDBITE OF ALEX MOUKALA II SONG, "BENEATH THE MASK (FROM 'PERSONA 5')") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Murray Carpenter