NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Are you over winter yet? If so, Mother Nature says tough.
Another blast of Arctic air will move into the Tri-State area Thursday, sending temperatures plummeting to potentially record-breaking lows.
A wind chill advisory is in effect from midnight until 10 a.m. Friday for New York City and the surrounding suburbs, Long Island, coastal Connecticut and much of northeast New Jersey.
Forecasters say it will turn windy and bitterly cold Thursday night with a low of 4, which would break the Central Park record of 7 set for the date in 1950. With the wind chill, it will feel like 10 to 20 below zero in some spots in the city, and 20 to 35 below to the north and west, CBS2’s Lonnie Quinn reported.
The cold weather has been taking its toll on many New Yorkers.
“It’s so cold, I can’t take it anymore,” 6-year-old Crown Heights resident Dahliana Diaz, who is ditching the city with her mom for a long weekend away, told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell.
But as CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported, the beautiful great outdoors is actually fascinating for some. Dr. Laszlo Mihaly of Stony Brook University uses the bitter elements as his laboratory.
“Put a little ice crystal, and see it freezes,” he explained as he demonstrated the progression of ice formation. “Ice crystals grow and they grow downwards…. It’s just beautiful.”
He also demonstrated what happens to a T-shirt when it gets wet and freezes over. The wet T-shirt was frozen solid in just a few minutes – showing why people who fall into icy waters need to move fast.
Mihaly also took a hammer to a lemon that had been frozen solid. The lemon shattered to pieces as if it were made of glass.
“It’s very important to understand that the cold weather alone is not always the problem, but the combination of wind and cold is really what we are facing now,” Mihaly said.
Indeed, despite the whimsical elements of Mihaly’s demonstrations, the deep freeze is serious and dangerous.
“You shouldn’t do what I’m doing right now, I mean, I’m pretty cold because I don’t have a hat and that isn’t a very heavy jacket,” said a less-than-perfectly-bundled Donny Wombough.
“Think positive about it, because complaining sure won’t change the temperature one bit,” added Patrick Leahy.
The cold was already causing problems late Thursday for a variety of means of transportation – particularly those of a maritime nature.
On the Hudson River, ferry teams have been using tugboats to break up the ice and have them on standby ahead of Friday’s frigid temperatures. But the boats still had to navigate through the ice floes.
“It can be a bit scary at times,” said Erin Smith of Edgewater, New Jersey. “The boat will shake a lot, and it’s almost like it’s struggling. It’s going so much slower.”
Meanwhile, riders had to plan their commute down to the minute. Customers got text messages warning of delays even though the tugboats were out trying to clear a path, CBS2’s Weijia Jiang reported.
“We left work about an hour and a half ago and we’re still trying to make it home, but we want to be safe,” said Lynette Mitchell of Jersey City. “Better safe than sorry.”
“It’s a little depressing this time of year,” another man told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck. “Can’t wait for the spring.”
The bitter blast also caused trouble all through the evening Thursday on the rails. A bridge in Kearny, New Jersey was stuck, and so many Amtrak riders waited in a crowded Penn Station for nearly an hour.
Overhead wire problems also halted some NJ TRANSIT lines Thursday evening.
“It’s really frustrating, because you want to get home,” said Amtrak customer David Fields. “I don’t want to get home at midnight.”
And the Friday morning commute may be worse. The Long Island Rail Road will keep waiting rooms open 24-7, but many stations don’t even have waiting rooms.
“Having to wait for the train on the platform is cold, bitter, so you can’t get there too early,” said George Garcia of Long Branch.
A cold weather plan is also in place for the subway system. Trains will be stored underground overnight, planned service changes are canceled, and some trains will change their stops.
Commuters worry the cold could create problems they have seen before, such as broken rails. A Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman said de-icing machines and torches are ready to go in case the tracks freeze.
Meanwhile, the dangerously cold temperatures prompted the New York City Office of Emergency Management to issue a cold weather alert, urging New Yorkers to be careful during the extreme cold weather.