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New York City may have coldest New Year’s Eve in decades

NEW YORK — The ball won't be the only thing dropping on New Year's Eve. The temperature in New York City could drop into the low teens or single digits.

About a million people usually gather in Times Square to ring in the new year. And this year extreme cold could put a damper on the festivities.

According to Dr. Erick Eiting of Mount Sinai Downtown, exposure to the cold for a long period of time could be dangerous.

"If you were thinking this is the year to go and watch the ball drop, maybe you better rethink that decision," he said.

Mark Wilkens, visiting New York from Washington, said he plans to wear long underwear and brave the cold Sunday night.

"I think if we bundle up, I think we will be OK. A little drink here or there and stay warm, I think we will be OK," Wilkens said.

But alcoholic drinks are not allowed inside the Times Square barricades and Dr. Eiting said people shouldn't drink in cold weather because alcohol "...opens your blood vessels and can help make you more prone to things like frostbite."

When the temperature dips into the low teens and single digits, Dr. Eiting said frostbite and hypothermia are a real threat.

According to the New York City Office of Emergency Management, signs of hypothermia include; slurred speech, sluggishness, confusion, dizziness, shallow breathing, unusual behavior and a slow irregular heartbeat.

With frostbite your skin can turn gray, white or yellow. Your skin feels numb and waxy.

The cold is the reason why Zoe Warren will not be spending her first New Year's in New York outside.

"We would like to if we didn't have to wait all day in the cold," she said.