Northeast Braces for Life-Threatening Wind Chills

PHOTO: A woman lifts her scarf up in front of her nose to shield from the cold air, Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, in New York.PlayMary Altaffer/AP PHOTO
WATCH Dangerous Cold Hits the Northeast

A major cold blast is hitting the Northeast and Midwest today and forcing nearly 100 million people to deal with dangerous and possibly life-threatening wind chills.

The polar air is already making its way eastward from the Midwest. The greater Chicago area could see wind chills today as low as minus 20 degrees. In Wisconsin and Minnesota, there is a chance for wind chills as low minus 30 degrees below zero.

A wind chill advisory has been issued for New York City, southwards towards Philadelphia and down the Appalachians. The coldest wind chills are expected in these areas late Saturday night into early Sunday morning. One of the areas of concern will be parts of upstate New York, where wind chills could dip as low as minus 40 degrees.

New York City's Central Park hit 22 degrees early Saturday, but factoring the wind chill it feels 15 degrees below zero. If New York City were to drop below 2 degrees on Sunday, it will beat the record for the coldest Valentine’s Day, which was set in 1916. The last time the Big Apple hit zero degrees was in 1994.

Philadelphia is operating in Code Blue, a city-wide response to get anyone who needs shelter inside. Warming centers have been opened across the I-95 corridor to help anyone get indoors and away from the brutal cold.

Wind chill watches and warnings are in effect for much of New England. Wind chill values overnight could dip to life-threatening conditions in the New England area. Those venturing outside for prolonged periods of time could easily receive frostbite and hypothermia.

For Sunday morning, record daily lows will be possible from central New Jersey to Boston. In addition, record low high temperatures will be possible in parts of the Northeast as well. Boston’s record daily low on Sunday is minus three degrees, and the current forecast is already minus four degrees. The last time it was this cold in Boston was in 2004.

In addition to the brutal cold air, snow squalls will be possible across the Midwest and the Northeast Saturday morning with generally light accumulations.

Meanwhile temperatures are expected to quickly rise up towards average, possibly above average by Tuesday and lasting through the end of the month.