As brutally cold air makes its way into the tri-state region, the arctic deep freeze is carving a path through the Midwest, forcing the widespread closure of school, offices and prompting the U.S. Postal Service to suspend mail delivery.
Speaking about the impending temperature drop in a press conference Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said everyone in the New York area should be on “high alert.”
Wednesday afternoon the polar vortex makes its arrival in the form of an arctic cold front that could bring a few gusty snow showers, or snow squalls. Gusts of 50 mph could develop, bringing temperatures down Wednesday night into the single digits. Visibilities in snow squalls will drop to around a quarter of a mile in spots.
“It won’t be a lot of snow accumulation, but while you’re in the middle… it could even feel like whiteout conditions,” the mayor warned of the potential snow squalls passing through the city Wednesday afternoon.
“For the rest of this day, if you can use mass transit, please do. Obviously if you don’t need to go out, that’s ideal,” the mayor advised. “If you have to drive… [and] end up running into these conditions, the best advice we can give is pull over if you can, take a break.”
Wind chill advisories are in effect from midnight Wednesday night into 10 a.m. Thursday, affecting parts of northeast New Jersey, southern Connecticut and southeastern New York. Wind chill warnings go into effect from 4 p.m. Wednesday to 6 p.m. Thursday, affecting Wayne, Pike, Lackwanna, Luzerne, Delaware and Ostego counties. It will be possible to feel like -10 or worse through the night. Frostbite could occur in less than 30 minutes during these conditions.
Airports in the New York region are seeing several flight disruptions. Nearly 100 flights have been canceled at LaGuardia Airport. John F. Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International airports are also advising those traveling to confirm the status of their flights with airlines.
Brutally cold air then follows behind heading into Thursday as a part of the polar vortex makes its way into the region and temperatures begin to fall. While the core of the cold will slide to the north from the Midwest, wind chill values around here will still be very dangerous with feel-like readings well below 0.
“Think especially about children and making sure that they are safe – Our seniors, disabled folks – It’s going to be a trying time and we want to make sure that everyone is prepared,” the mayor said in regards to Thursday’s treacherous temperatures.
Despite the viciously cold weather, Mayor de Blasio and NYC schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said that NYC schools will remain open Thursday.
Fortunately, the frigid air mass will be quick to move out. On Friday, temperatures will creep back up into the lower 20s, but the winds should back off, making it more tolerable.
Over the weekend, we will then see a quick warmup as a southerly flow kicks in. Temperatures climb into the lower 30s on Saturday, then toward 40 on Sunday. Heading into early next week, temperatures could approach 50.