NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Plunging temperatures, gusty winds and snow hit the Tri-State area and other parts of the Northeast on Thursday, the same dangerously cold temperatures that have gripped the Upper Midwest.
The National Weather Service said a strong arctic cold front moved across the region with temperatures falling throughout the day. Snow flurries and even a heavier snow squall were also possible through the area on Thursday.
The frigid weather and wind will cause dangerously cold wind chills into Friday morning, followed by a storm that could bring a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain across much of the country.
A high wind warning is in effect from 6 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Friday for much of the Tri-State area.
“These temperatures will be dangerous,” NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito said in a statement. “During this blast of arctic cold, stay indoors and if you have to go out, bundle up.”
The cold and wind caused some airport delays Thursday night.
At John F. Kennedy International Airport, some arriving flights were delayed an average of one hour and 54 minutes. At LaGuardia Airport, some arriving flights were delayed one hour and 29 minutes, and at Newark Liberty International Airport, some arriving flights were delayed three hours and 33 minutes.
The city warned people to stay indoors, but not everyone can escape the cold. Many, like traffic agents and sanitation workers, have to brave the outdoors.
“Most of us wear Under Armour because it keeps the heat in. As long as you’re moving, you’re going to heat up anyway,” sanitation worker Kelvin Manning told CBS2’s Brian Conybeare.
Dr. Robert Glatter at Northwell Health Lenox Hill Hospital said the emergency room will be getting busy as the wind chill falls.
“Often what we see are people with numbness and tingling in their digits – their fingers, their nose, their ears. They’re not covering up, and it’s the exposed skin along with the cold temperatures that put you at risk for the early stages of frostbite as well as hypothermia,” he said.
Glatter recommended layering up and making sure that exposed skin is covered.
Matt Stratford, a junior at Fordham University, apparently missed that advice. He was seen strolling down the street in shorts.
“Coming back from the gym and I was too lazy to put on sweatpants,” he said.
Meanwhile on Shore Acres Drive in Mamaroneck, some 50 homes were without power after a tree limb came down in the strong winds Thursday afternoon, taking utility lines with it and leaving many without heat.
“No heat and it’s really cold in the house,” resident Mary Vasami said. “It’s just absolutely freezing out, so I’m worried about the pipes freezing too, you know that’s a concern.”
The arctic blast brought the coldest temperatures since February.
“I don’t like it,” Mount Vernon resident Chris Neumann told CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock.
Grace Papaseraphim and her daughter, of Astoria, Queens, said running from store to store for a few more gifts was the only solution for braving the elements.
“I didn’t realize it was this cold until we got out of the car,” she said. “I’m not used to this. I don’t like this at all.”
It wasn’t just the cold, the wind was to blame as well.
“Well, it keeps you walking, you know?” one man said.
The strong gusts sent trash flying and decorations dancing.
“I feel like it’s going to blow me away,” 15-year-old Sidney Rivera said.
“When I was at 125th Street station, it blew me away, so I went back downstairs,” Marise Louis, of Old Mill Basin in Brooklyn, said.
Despite the frigid temperatures, it was still five-o-clock somewhere. At the Porch outdoor bar in Bryant Park, bartender Jonas worked to help warm customers up.
“The heaters warm the outside, and the alcohol warns the inside,” he told 1010 WINS’ Andrew Falzone.
He recommended a spiked hot chocolate.
“My hands are frozen, but not the alcohol,” he said.
Thursday night, temperatures were expected to plunge into the teens and single digits, meaning wind chills will bottom out well below zero in many areas. Gusts as high as 60 miles per hour were possible.
“Yeah I don’t want to be outside for that,” Joe Cannizzo, of Ardsley, said.
“Stay in the house under the heat,” Errol Daniels, of Mount Vernon, said.
Snow is expected across the area late Friday, before turning to rain Saturday. There will likely be some lingering bouts of rain through Sunday.
The city’s Department of Sanitation has issued a snow alert for Saturday, meaning it can begin to prepare equipment and personnel for any winter weather.
It sounds pretty grim, especially for people who have to work in this kind of weather.
“You just do your best and keep going,” a construction worker told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams.
“It’s cold,” another woman told 1010 WINS’ John Montone.
But some take it all in stride.
“I sleep with my windows open,” a woman named Brenda told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris. “Last night, every night, all year round.”
The city’s Office of Emergency Management asked that New Yorkers dress in layers and look out for one another, including checking on the elderly and those most vulnerable and prone to cold weather illnesses.
When temperatures dip below freezing, a Code Blue is also issued across city meaning if you see a homeless person in need of shelter, you are asked to call 311 and an outreach team will be dispatched to help.
Warming centers are open around the city on Thursday and Friday. Residents can call 311 to find the center nearest to you.
Warming centers are open in Newark, New Jersey Thursday at the John F. Kennedy Recreation Center. Click here for more information.
In addition, the State of Connecticut has activated its severe cold weather protocol. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said anyone in need of shelter is urged to call 211 to find the nearest available locations.
With the high winds, the city’s Department of Buildings is also reminding all builders, contractors, crane operators and property owners to secure their construction sites, buildings and equipment.
If using a space heater to heat your home during the bitter blast, the fire department advises not to use them with an extension cord or power strip and is reminding residents to check that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working.
Officials are also urging residents to check on vulnerable friends and neighbors.
For more information, including home heating and other safety tips, click here.
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