Thanksgiving Day 2018 may be among coldest on record in northeastern US

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
November 22, 2018, 12:38:24 PM EST

People spending time outdoors during Thanksgiving Day into Black Friday may face some of the coldest conditions on record in the northeastern United States for late November.

Thanksgiving Day 2018 will bring the coldest conditions of the autumn so far; it will flat out be blustery and frigid. Expect northwest winds to average 15-20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph throughout New England and along the coastal mid-Atlantic. The windiest part of the day in the central Appalachians and the mid-Atlantic will be during the morning hours. Much of the day will be windy in New England.

Not only will people attending or participating in parades be at risk for hypothermia and frostbite, but also those people attending traditional Thanksgiving Day football games in the region.

Temperatures during Thanksgiving morning will start off near zero Fahrenheit in northern New England and near 30 in southeastern Virginia. Highs are forecast to range from the teens in the northern tier of Maine to the upper 30s in the lower Chesapeake Bay region.

AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures throughout the Northeast will be 10 to 20 degrees lower than the actual temperature which will put levels well below zero at times across the north and in the single digits and teens in Virginia.

Static NE RF Thursday

Over the past 150 years or so, the bulk of the frigid Thanksgivings occurred during the mid-1800s to near the turn of the 20th Century.

For example, in New York City, there have been less than a handful of Thanksgiving days with a forecast morning low in the teens F and a high in the 20s, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell.

"Nov. 30, 1871, holds the record for the coldest Thanksgiving Day on record in New York City with a low of 15 and a high of 22," Ferrell said.

AccuWeather is projecting a morning low of 19 and an afternoon high of 27 in New York City this Thanksgiving Day.

Those relying on observations from New York City's Central Park should know that the anemometer is not working and the site is currently inaccurately registering calm winds. RealFeel Temperatures are in the single digits and teens in the New York City area, with winds averaging between 15 and 30 mph this Thanksgiving Day.

Static AP Thanksgiving Day 2013 NYC

Meanwhile, in Boston, the coldest Thanksgiving Day was on, Nov. 28, 1901, with a high of 24. The lowest temperature for any Thanksgiving morning or late evening was on Nov. 27, 1873, with a low of 11.

AccuWeather is predicting a low of 13 and a high of 23 in Boston on Thanksgiving Day.

Farther south, in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore areas, this may be the coldest Thanksgiving since 1996. In Washington, D.C., the high temperature was only 35 and the low was 26 during 1996. In Baltimore the high was 33 and the low was 18 on the same Thanksgiving Day on Nov. 28.

In Philadelphia, on Nov. 28, 1996, the high was 30 and the low was 21. The coldest Thanksgiving on record in Philadelphia was in 1901, when the high was 27 and the low was 20.

Most likely temperatures will be within a few degrees of these levels from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia.

Download the free AccuWeather app to see what temperatures will be like in your area.

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The cold weather will be supplied by a burst of arctic air that produced locally blinding snow squalls across parts of the interior Northeast on Wednesday. The squalls diminished to spotty flurries south and east of the Appalachians.

While winds will be much less on Friday compared to Thanksgiving Day, even a little breeze will bite.

Static Friday Morning NE

Early morning Black Friday shoppers waiting in lines outside of the stores will need to dress in warm layers. A knitted hat and gloves are highly recommended to avoid the risk of hypothermia and frostbite.

Temperatures are forecast to moderate over the weekend and may approach average levels by Sunday.

In case you have forgotten what average temperatures are during late November, highs typical range from the low 40s across the northern tier to near 60 in southeastern Virginia.

Despite the moderating trend this weekend, a fast-moving storm is also expected to sweep across the region.

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