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Record-Breaking Bitter Cold, Dangerous Wind Chills Envelop Tri-State

Barnegat Bay Frozen Over (Credit: Robert Burnaford )

Barnegat Bay Frozen Over (Credit: Robert Burnaford )

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Frigid air that snapped decades-old records took hold across the Tri-State area Tuesday, snarling air travel and transit and forcing delayed openings at schools across the region.

CHECK: Radar Forecast & Alerts | Airport Delays & Cancellations | School Closings & Delays | Cold Weather Safety Tips

The National Weather Service said Central Park hit 4 degrees — a new record low for this date. It snapped a 118-year-old record low of 6.

CBS 2’s Lonnie Quinn reported records were also shattered around the area, with 7 degrees replacing a record of 13 in Islip, and 4 degrees replacing a record of 11 at LaGuardia Airport.

By afternoon, the wind chill bottomed out at 17 degrees below zero at Central Park.

And as late as 5 p.m., the temperature only 9 at Central Park with a wind chill of minus 6. In Monroe, the air temperature was 0, with a wind chill of minus 18.

By 11 p.m., the temperature remained 9 degrees, with a wind chill of minus 6. The reading was a mere one degree higher than the 8 degrees seen in Fairbanks, Alaska, at the same time.

With temperatures in the single digits, some schools on Long Island, Rockland and Westchester counties issued delayed openings.

Wind is also a factor. A wind advisory was in effect into the evening for New York City as well as parts of Westchester, Long Island and New Jersey.

On Wednesday, the high will climb to 23 degrees, but will feel like 0 to 15 with the wind chill, Quinn reported.

The New York City Department of Buildings told contractors and property owners to batten down their buildings.

The department said Monday it would do random, spot-check inspections at construction sites to make sure equipment and debris are secured.

In New Jersey, temperatures in the single digits are combining with blustery winds to make it feel like it’s well below zero across the state. Dozens of New Jersey schools also had delayed openings.

As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, Jersey City emergency medical teams have been taking weather-related calls for several days. They started with an onslaught of slip and falls on the icy pavement, and now with the bitter blast, they have included patients who can’t help but succumb to the deep freeze.

“A lot of slips and falls primarily, some hypothermia, homeless are a little more exposed,” said emergency medical technician Chad Lawrence. “Like to try to get them into shelter or emergency room, and just try to get them help.”

Barnegat Bay was completely frozen over.

In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy reactivated the state’s severe cold weather action because of frigid temperatures.

Slick roads across Connecticut prompted school delays and forced state police to close Interstate 84 in both directions in Tolland for nearly two hours.