‘Only took 15 minutes to freeze’: Local reporter uses ice cold prop to show how cold Vermont is

Local CNN-affiliated morning reporter Melissa Cooney showed viewers, using a unique and impressive visual aid, just how cold it is currently in Burlington, Vermont with an “extreme arctic blast” plunging the Northeast into a deep freeze.

(Video Credit: CNN)

Cooney, reporting from Vermont’s WCAX, used a cold-weather prop during Friday morning’s edition of “CNN This Morning” to make her point. She showed a pair of jeans that had frozen solid within 15 minutes to drive her point home and earned comments from CNN anchors Kaitlan Collins and Poppy Harlow.

“We’re going to check in on the latest forecast in a moment. But, first, we have our CNN affiliate reporter Melissa Cooney live on the ground in Burlington, Vermont,” Collins stated opening the segment. “Melissa, I know it’s already close to zero degrees where you are. How are officials in the area bracing for this? How bad are we expecting it to get?”

“Good morning, Kaitlan. Well, Vermonters are really no strangers to the cold, but this wind chill is really the kicker here. Right now, as you said, we’re teetering on zero to one degree, and over 200 schools have already been closed here in Vermont. And multiple ski resorts are shutting down too, which is unique because, of course, they love the cold,” Cooney responded, making it clear that the subzero temperatures are life-threatening.

“A few ski resorts, like Stow, are staying open with some lifts in and some not. But right now, this is severe with the wind chill we’re seeing, negative 17-degree wind chill right now. And temperatures here in Vermont have dropped 30 degrees since the night,” she continued.

Then Cooney proceeded to show viewers just how devastatingly cold it is getting there suddenly.

“I’m going to show you something. I’ve been freezing a pair of jeans all morning. And as you could see, this is rock solid. This pretty much only took 15 minutes to freeze. That is really how cold it is here in Vermont. At the waterfront center, we actually saw some folks swimming just about two minutes ago, which is interesting because we have a polar plunge here, an annual event. That too has been canceled due to the severe weather,” she reported.

“For now, we also know that this has been a warmer January. It’s pretty unique because the winter has been the fourth warmest January on record until currently. Right now, we are seeing the negative temperatures for the first time all winter, which is actually quite unique. And even more so, we are going to get even warmer next week. We’re going to be in the 30s and the 40s,” Cooney noted.

But for now, the arctic freeze is taking hold of the Northeast and it is brutal.

“So, this is just a temporary cold snap, but you’re right, folks in the area are bracing for the cold. Some we spoke to say they are not going to leave their house. And others, you know, Vermonters like to be in the wilderness. It’s like what we do. So, for now, we are live in Burlington, Melissa Cooney,” the reporter concluded.

“Not when your jeans are frozen like that,” Collins quipped.

“You’re tough in Vermont. Melissa, thank you very much. It is beautiful, I have to say, behind you,” Harlow remarked.

With windchill factored in, the cold predictions there are sobering. Mt. Washington, NH will see -100 degrees. Burlington, VT will hit -41 degrees. Manchester, NH will come in at -40 degrees. Bangor, ME will sink to -49 degrees. Boston, MA will see temps of -32 degrees and New York City will experience a windchill of -7 degrees, according to CNN.

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