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The harshest wave of cold so far this season will take hold of the northeastern United States by the first weekend of January.
In part of the mid-Atlantic coast and New England, the cold will follow a powerful snowstorm with blizzard conditions on Thursday and Thursday night.
Relative to recent days, temperatures will be less harsh on Wednesday, generally around 10 degrees Fahrenheit below normal as opposed to 20 or more degrees below normal.
“After a brief moderation from the cold at midweek, more bitter cold and downright harsh air will return,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliott said.
This air mass will be about 5-10 degrees lower than the one that froze the Northeast during the final few days of December and start of January, according to Elliott.
High temperatures will remain in the single digits F for the first time this season from Indianapolis to Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh on Friday. For comparison, the lowest daytime temperature in these cities last winter was in the teens.
Temperatures in Syracuse and Buffalo, New York, will struggle to get above zero during the daylight hours late this week and into the weekend. Highs will stay in the teens from Baltimore to New York City.
On Saturday, Boston will challenge its lowest maximum temperature ever recorded for the date, which stands at 7 from 1896.
Low temperature records, some dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, will be challenged in Baltimore; Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New York City, Buffalo and Syracuse, New York; Boston; Hartford, Connecticut; and Bangor and Portland, Maine, on Friday and/or Saturday night(s).
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A frigid biting wind will make it even more uncomfortable and dangerous to be outside no matter the length time.
Subzero AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will encompass the region.
"RealFeels will dip to over 30 degrees Fahrenheit below zero in the Green and White Mountains and upstate New York on Friday," Elliott said.
Skiers eager to take advantage of the fresh powder on the slopes from Thursday's storm will need to be thoroughly covered with layers of clothing.
If not adequately dressed in such conditions, the risk of frostbite is high, even if you spend less than 15 minutes outdoors.
“Be sure to check on young children and the elderly as they are more prone to having serious health issues in these conditions,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. “When traveling, be sure to bring along blankets, knitted hats and gloves in case your vehicle becomes disabled.”
Allowing water to drip from faucets can help prevent pipes from freezing and bursting and causing costly damage.
The wind may be strong enough to trigger airline delays and even sporadic power outages in the region.
The lake-effect snow machine will be ramped up once again from Thursday to Friday, further burying communities that have been hit with significant snowfall this winter.
“For those who find the brutal cold unbearable and downright miserable, there is some hope on the horizon,” Elliott said.
Early next week, an approaching storm will cause the bitter cold to retreat toward Canada, allowing temperatures to return to near-normal levels for a brief time, according to Elliott.
A bit of snow and ice is possible in parts of the region as the cold air retreats.
Another harsh cold blast is poised to return by the middle of next week.
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