The capital of New York and the nation’s second-largest city have been declared “cancelled” and all city services suspended, as temperatures soar to a record of 40 degrees Celsius.
“We have cancelled the following major events: the JFK airport and New York City subway lines,” the New York State Department of Financial Services said in a statement.
The agency warned people to avoid public transportation and businesses were not expected to reopen for at least a few more days.
People who are at risk include anyone who has not been medically cleared for work, people who have recently moved, those who are pregnant or nursing and anyone with a physical disability.
It said the city’s power and water supply could be shut down until further notice.
In Washington, officials urged people to conserve water, limit outdoor time and avoid using the toilet.
The weather system is expected to weaken in coming days and the National Weather Service has predicted temperatures will drop to 20 degrees in the next 48 hours.
“It will be an extremely cold day in New York, but we should be OK,” said Mark Kudla, a meteorologist for the Weather Channel.
“I can’t predict how cold it will be, but it will get to that point.”
A major snowfall in the north and east of the US on Monday was expected to bring freezing temperatures of -10C to the region, the National Park Service said.