NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — People were bundled up from head to toe Thursday, as blistering cold temperatures covered the region for a third day.
It was windy and cold with a high of 20, but wind chills made it feel like the single digits.
For most New Yorkers, it’s probably fair to say that when it comes to describing the weather, “cold” is an understatement, CBS2’s Marc Liverman reported.
“I am very cold and I wish it were June,” said Yonkers resident Jim Jones.
“I look around at other people suffering and that makes me feel better,” said Bushwick resident Greg Neeeld. “That gives me strength.
“I got six layers on,” said Alex Cella. “Still cold and I got two pairs of socks on. Still cold, can’t feel my toes.”
“It’s totally freezing, like insane,” another person said.
Tourists weren’t having any of it, either. Robert Dugdale is visiting with his wife from England and was quick to point out that cold looks different here than across the pond.
“At home, we’d have ground frost but here there’s like no ground frost whatsoever and like a wind chill,” he said. “Nothing here is frozen. It’s really weird, isn’t it?”
Another couple visiting from Los Angeles said layers are key.
“You definitely need to know what you’re getting into,” Megan Laird said.
“A coat, a sweatshirt, a thermal underneath,” Oscar Paniague added.
From wearing fur-trimmed hoods and face masks, to eating hot pretzels and hot dogs from shivering street vendors, New Yorkers and tourists alike did whatever they could to keep comfortable while exploring the city on one of the coldest nights of the year.
“We love to go to New York. This time is amazing, it’s magical,” one woman said.
Magical, yes, but from a medical standpoint – we’re now at the time where the temperatures in the teens have begun impacting people’s physical health, CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported.
“I’ve had a sinus infection, irritation for five weeks and I don’t think the weather is helping,” said Katia Portela, of the Upper East Side.
Doctors say the frigid air forces folks inside to confined space, and that spread sickness.
“There are a lot of people who are just kind of crammed together in the same space. People are sneezing, coughing away. And there are other people who are just more susceptible to inhaling those respiratory droplets,” Dr. June Ree, of Lenox Hill Hospital, explained.
The dark, cold days, along with the fact that the holidays are winding down, tend to take a toll on mental health, too.
“You might find that you’re kind of in sort of a holiday withdrawal. Be compassionate to yourself and keep in mind – this is a normal experience,” psychologist Dr. Alexandra Stratyner said. “We do know, by the way, that when people have unstructured time, they can tend to be a little bit more likely to have these winter blues.”
She said the key is planning activities you can look forward to.
With New Year’s Eve just days away, it could be one of the coldest celebrations on record.
The bitter cold weather has taken hold of much of the northern United States and is expected to stay put for days.
In International Falls, Minnesota, The National Weather Service reported that the temperature plunged to 37 degrees below zero, breaking the old record of 32 below set in 1924. Hibbing, Minnesota, bottomed out at 28 below, breaking the old record of 27 below set in 1964.
Meanwhile, strong westerly winds over Lake Erie picked up moisture, developed into snow and converged with opposing winds, dumping snow in a band along the shore from Ohio to New York, said Zach Sefcovic, a National Weather Service meteorologist.
As the temperature drops, officials say stay indoors as much as possible but if you have to go outside, wear dry, warm clothing and cover exposed skin. Keep fingertips, ear lobes and noses covered and wear a hat, hood, scarf and gloves.
Officials say prolonged exposure to the cold can lead to hypothermia, frostbite and can worsen existing medical conditions such as heart and lung diseases.
For more tips and information, click here.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)