No End in Sight for Northeast's Brutal Cold Wave, After Arctic Blast Moves in From Midwest

Frigid temperatures gripped major East Coast cities, while massive lake effect snowfall threatened the Great Lakes region

By Sam Schulz
|  Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013  |  Updated 7:26 PM EDT
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Shomari Stone reports

Shomari Stone reports

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Dealing With the Bitter Cold

Tim Furlong is in Bensalem talking to locals about how they're dealing with the arctic blast.
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The Northeast's brutal cold wave won't be ending anytime soon, forecasters say. The region was shivering Wednesday after a blast of Arctic air moved in from the Midwest, plunging millions from New England to the nation's capital into a deep freeze and dumping snow along the Great Lakes.

Washington, D.C., was facing what could prove its coldest stretch in almost a decade, the chief meteorologist for NBC Washington's Storm Team 4 said, with Wednesday morning temperatures between 10 and 17 degrees, although they felt like subzero ones.

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One utility worker in nearby Gaithersburg, Md., had to be rescued from atop a 200-foot cell phone tower after he became too cold to get down safely, NBC Washington reported.

"I think I have on like 10 layers of clothes. It's so cold here! It's freezing!" tourist Jackie Stewart told NBC Washington.

"It's been bad," cleaning supplies worker Ricardo Rivera of Bethlehem, Pa., told NBC10 Philadelphia, showing an ice-filled spray bottle. "All the chemicals are freezing."

Further north along the East Coast, the New York City area got some of its coldest air in two years, with subzero wind chills shocking New Yorkers who had been treated to a relatively mild winter until now, NBC New York's Storm Team 4 reported.

Northern Maine saw temperatures as low as 36 below zero on Wednesday, and the Bangor Daily News reported that the chill would make for a 75-degree drop from the record highs the Pine Tree State enjoyed last week.

In Chicago, amid dangerously low temperatures, an abandoned warehouse was coated in ice Wednesday morning after firefighters put out a massive five-alarm fire there, NBC Chicago reported. The Windy City saw its coldest day in years Tuesday with wind chills dropping to 20 below.

Northern Minnesota saw temperatures as low as 35 degrees below zero on Tuesday, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin experienced even colder wind chills, meteorologist Jeff Masters wrote on his WunderBlog.

Meteorologists from the National Weather Service warned that the shores of the Great Lakes, from Ohio to western New York state, could soon have to dig out from massive lake effect snowfall expected Wednesday. Contributing to the sheer amount of snow were the Great Lakes' near-record warm water temperatures, according to WunderBlog.

In New York City, forecasters said the peak of the cold wave had hit overnight Tuesday, when the mercury dropped to the lower single digits. But the stinging wind chills throughout the region were expected to last all week.

In Connecticut, daily highs were not expected to break out of the teens Wednesday and Thursday, while overnight temperatures could feel subzero, according to NBC Connecticut's meteorologist.

The below-freezing chill in Washington was forecast to stick around several days, too — possibly through the weekend, forecasters said. Light snow could follow in the capital, too, according to NBC Washington's Storm Team 4.

A coastal winter storm was expected to hit the New York area and New England late in the week.

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