WEST MILFORD, N.J (CBSNewYork) – Officials on Tuesday were bracing the public to prepare for a wintry mix followed by brutally cold temperatures zeroing in on the Tri-State area.

By Tuesday night, the “polar vortex” had arrived.

It was a real winter wonderland out in New Jersey, with roads already slick and the worst still to come.

Residents tried to get a head start on shoveling and salting while they still could.

“Anything that needs work in the house even painting you can’t do in the cold because it’s not gonna dry,” Gigi Fernandez of North Bergen said.

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The potential single-digit and below-zero temperatures in the coming days may be a brutal adjustment for some in the Tri-state, but not everyone.

“I love the cold weather. I’m a snowboarder and I work outside as a mailman,” one postal worker told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.

Cold air caused the postal service to suspend Wednesday mail delivery in several states. Much of the Midwest is reportedly feeling the most frigid air in a generation.

An accident involving at least two dozen vehicles in Michigan shut down a busy interstate during the morning rush.

“I think in general New Yorkers are pretty tough. They might stay indoors more than usual, but it won’t change what they do in a day,” Jim Knight of Bedminster said.

In New Jersey, Gov. Murphy is warning residents to plan for icy roads and potential blackouts.

WEB EXTRA – NJ Gov. Murphy Discusses State’s Storm Preparations: 

Wednesday is expected to be a transitional day, as an arctic air mass currently ravaging parts of the Midwest settles in across the Tri-State area causing concern for black ice. Wind chills are expected to peak in the teens during the morning to early afternoon hours before dipping to around 0° for the afternoon rush.

Latest forecasts show the polar vortex will settle in up until the weekend, bringing with it dangerously frigid temperatures and wind chills which will struggle to reach 0° on Thursday.

NJ TRANSIT says hundreds of cars and locomotives have been “winterized.” The agency also has two jet-powered snow blowers available to remove ice and snow from tracks and critical switching areas as needed. 20,000 pounds of salt are on hand to help keep platforms free of ice.

In New York, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says they will likely activate warming devices throughout their system to keep switches warm on all Long Island Rail Road and Metro North Railroad lines. LIRR stations will also keep waiting rooms open 24 hours a day Wednesday through Saturday.

The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement for New York City, with areas of black ice expected to develop Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Travelers are urged to use caution while travelling early Wednesday.

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