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Bitterly cold air and frigid winds will make being outdoors brutal at midweek.
The cold may also lay the foundation for more snow opportunities later in the week.
“Wednesday will be the coldest, and definitely the coldest-feeling, day of the season so far across most of the Northeast,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson said.
The polar plunge arrived on the back side of the Tuesday clipper storm and is expected to hold temperatures to their lowest levels so far this season.
On Wednesday, air temperatures are expected to remain below freezing over much of the Northeast, including along the heavily populated I-95 corridor from Philadelphia to New York City to Boston. Air temperatures will barely climb above freezing in Washington, D.C.
From northern Pennsylvania to Vermont, daytime temperatures may struggle or fail to reach even 20 F.
“A biting wind gusting between 20 and 30 mph will create very low AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures, even during the day when the sun is out,” Thompson said.
Subzero RealFeel temperatures are expected to grip Burlington, Vermont, and Buffalo, Syracuse and Binghamton, New York. Pittsburgh will join Boston and New York City in enduring RealFeel temperatures in the single digits. It will feel more like the teens in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
The chilly winds will even be felt in Raleigh, North Carolina, where RealFeel temperatures will struggle to reach the freezing mark.
Residents, construction crews and anyone else who must spend lengthy time outdoors will have to bundle up with heavy jackets, hats, scarves and mittens to avoid hypothermia. The homeless should be made aware of the danger and urged to seek shelter.
Be sure that children are properly dressed and have a warm place to wait for school buses on Wednesday morning.
Farmers will want to ensure livestock will be sufficiently warm at midweek, while short-haired dogs may need a coat for walks.
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“The impending bitter cold has origins directly from the Arctic, which will enhance the chill and drive temperatures lower,” Thompson said.
The shock value from the midweek polar plunge may be higher for the I-95 corridor, where temperatures on Tuesday climbed into the 40s from Washington, D.C., to Boston.
Thompson does not expect record lows to fall with this cold snap. However, overnight lows mostly in the single digits and teens will have residents putting extra wood on fireplaces and spending more on heating.
The cold will also quickly reactivate the lake-effect snow machine, leading to snow-covered roads and dramatically reduced visibility downwind of the Great Lakes.
Disruptions to school and other daily activities may result.
Snow showers may also lead to slippery travel in northern New England and the central Appalachians at midweek.
“This will be a quick cold snap,” Thompson said. The biting winds will ease by Wednesday night.
The reduction in the winds will come as a new clipper storm will spread a swath of snow into the mid-Atlantic from the Midwest on Wednesday night.
A brief rebound in temperatures may follow this weekend.
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