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Cold temperatures set regional records for Thanksgiving

Meisha Duan of Los Angeles was dressed for the cold while visiting Boston on Thursday.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

A record-breaking cold snap swept through the region on Thanksgiving, killing dozens of sea turtles on Cape Cod and plunging Mount Washington into record-setting cold temperatures.

The National Weather Service said Thursday’s big chill made it the coldest Nov. 22 on record in Providence, Hartford, and Worcester.

The mercury plunged to 11 degrees in Hartford, breaking the previous record of 14 degrees set in 1969.

It also dropped to 15 degrees in Providence, beating the previous low mark of 16 degrees set in 1969 and matched in 1987; and Worcester recorded 7 degrees, breaking the prior record of 11. In Maine, records were set for Portland and Augusta, where it got down to 6 degrees and 4 degrees, respectively.


Before Thursday, Portland’s coldest low temperature on Thanksgiving was 7 degrees in 1978.

As of 5 p.m., Boston had not broken any records, but it did tie for the lowest high temperature for Thanksgiving and Nov. 22 at 24 degrees, according to Lenore Correia, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Norton.

Boston’s record-low Thanksgiving temperature, 11 degrees, was set in 1873, Correia said. The record low for Nov. 22 was 9 degrees in 1879.

The MBTA did not have any cold-weather-related issues on Thursday, said Lisa Battiston, an MBTA spokeswoman.

On the Cape Cod shores of Brewster and Orleans, more than 150 sea turtles were found frozen solid Wednesday and Thursday after temperatures dropped to single digits overnight, a marine expert said.

The turtles, all but four of which were Kemp’s ridleys, were probably caught out on sand flats, making them more susceptible to the cold temperatures, said Jenette Kerr, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.

Kemp’s ridleys are considered one of the world’s most endangered sea turtles, especially in Massachusetts waters, Kerr said.


Most of the 82 turtles that washed ashore Wednesday night after the 10 p.m. high-tide were found alive, Kerr said, but nearly all of a second group of 87 found Thursday night did not survive.

Constantine Tam, 8, from New York City, was dressed for the cold while exploring the Public Garden in Boston.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Further north, weather observers at Mount Washington in New Hampshire recorded temperatures of minus 26 degrees early in the morning, with the windchill factor from hurricane-force winds making it feel like a brisk minus 75 degrees. The temperatures are record lows for the month of November at the summit, said Taylor Regan, a weather observer and research specialist for the observatory.

The previous record low for Nov. 22 was minus 11 degrees, set in 1987, and the previous record for any day in November was minus 20 degrees, which was set in 1958. The observatory started keeping temperature records in 1933, according to its website.

Compared with Thanksgiving Day, Friday is expected to be much warmer, with temperatures reaching close to 30 degrees and a low of mid-20s degrees at night, according to forecasters.

And while rain is expected this weekend, temperatures are forecast to rise to nearly 45 degrees Saturday and might reach 50 degrees Sunday — positively balmy after this frigid Thanksgiving.

Scituate High cheerleaders felt the temperature in the game against Hingham High.Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff
Needham High School student Fernanda Pinto warmed her cheeks during the 131st football game between Wellesley and Needham. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff
Swampscott High School cheerleader Tabitha Randell was bundled up before the game against Marblehead.John Blanding/Globe Sfaff

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Globe correspondents Andres Picon and Katie Camero contributed to this report. Aimee Ortiz can be reached at aimee.ortiz@globe.com. Follow her on twitter @aimee_ortiz.