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News: Frigid Weather
New Bedford divers, dock workers and lobstermen take the chill in stride.
On the coldest day of winter so far, diver and Wareham native Billy Atwood said he’d rather be underwater than above ground.
“It was warmer down there than it is up here,” Atwood said Thursday afternoon on the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge, where he and 19 other divers spent the day reinforcing the bridge’s foundations as part of an ongoing, multi-year project for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
Atwood called his heated wetsuit, which pumped hot water around his body, “his own personal hot tub.”
Coming up could get a little chilly, though.
An arctic blast that hit SouthCoast overnight Wednesday into Thursday set the mercury plunging toward zero throughout the region. In New Bedford, the bitter cold brought the city's homeless indoors; 19 men and two women spent the night at Pilgrim United/Mercy Meals and More on Purchase Street. While local hospitals had no cases of frostbite, a spokesman at the shelter, which stayed open Thursday night, reported one case there.
While forecasters are calling for less frigid air the next few days, Thursday was harsh, especially for those working outdoors.
Amid wind chills that hovered around zero all day, Steve Schmidts — Atwood’s coworker with Portsmouth, N.H.-based Black Dog Divers — immediately poured himself a cup of coffee after surfacing from a dive, shedding his gear, walking up a gusty ramp next to the Route 6 bridge and ducking into the small dive station that acted as a warming hut.
Diver and New Bedford native Chad Lucas shrugged off the fierce cold.
“Same as every other day,” Lucas said, acknowledging the crew had a little delay Thursday morning. “The only thing that really slowed people down was machines not starting.”
Just down the coast at Steamship Pier, lobsterman Dave Bolton said Thursday’s weather was a milestone, of sorts.
Article Written by: Lawrence, Mike "Frigid Weather, New Bedford diver, dock workers and lobstermen take the chill in stride" 8 Jan. 2015. Web. 25 Feb 2015
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