Tri-state residents are shivering through a third straight day of frigid temperatures and face-numbing winds Thursday as meteorologists warn the deep freeze could be around at least through the weekend.
Families huddled near heaters in their homes as others crowded warming centers Wednesday and many still homeless after Sandy sought shelter in tents set up by aid workers on Staten Island. The freezing weather was evident in Bryant Park, where thick icicles hung from the top of the fountain to its base as passersby struggled to snap photos of the ice sculpture without removing their mittens.
The coldest weather gripped the tri-state Wednesday and Thursday, with temperatures starting out in the teens and creeping up to the mid 20s during the day.
These cold temperatures can be dangerous, so tri-state residents are advised to heed certain cold weather tips, including wearing mittens, which keep extremities warmer than gloves, covering one's mouth to protect the lungs from the bitter cold air, layering loose-fitting, warm clothing and wearing a hat, because 40 percent of heat is lost through the head.
Animal advocates urge pet owners only take elderly dogs, puppies and short-haired dogs outside when they need to relieve themselves. If a dog whines frequently or keeps lifting its paws up while on a walk, it may need boots. Cat owners should keep their animals inside at all times in such bitter cold.
Forecasters say a quick moving storm late Friday afternoon and evening could bring from 1 to 3 inches of snow over the region, though most of the accumulation is expected in southern New Jersey and the southern shores of Suffolk County. New York City is expected only to see a dusting, if that, but the mix of snow and cold weather could lead to slick driving conditions.
Base temperatures are expected to break into the high 20s Saturday for the first time all week as clouds give way to sunshine. Conditions look better for the beginning of next week, with temperatures expected to hit the high 30s on Monday and then possibly make it into the 40s on Tuesday and Wednesday.