Arctic Blast, Subzero Wind Chills Freeze Tri-State

An arctic cold front moving through the tri-state is expected to drop temperatures to lows that might make a polar bear shiver.

After temperatures dipped to teeth-chattering levels Thursday, a second blast of arctic air arrived Friday night. 

Saturday morning’s wind chill will be dangerously cold and it will feel like it’s below zero in parts of the tri-state. Winds will gust above 30 mph at times, according to Storm Team 4.

Saturday night and Sunday morning will be the coldest, with low temperatures in the single digits, even in midtown Manhattan. It will be bitterly cold Saturday night and wind chills could make it feel like the negative teens in New York City. Wind chills will be even colder in the Catskills — probably around 20 below zero.

Sunday morning will be so cold that lows might break a 100-year record for the day set back in 1916, when temperatures were 2 degrees in Central Park on Valentine’s Day. The current forecast for Sunday is 1 degree, Storm Team 4 says.

Sunday afternoon may be record-breaking too, with frigid highs in the teens and wind chills well below that. Record high Valentine's Day temperatures set back in 1979 — 17 degrees at Central Park and JFK, and 15 degrees at LaGuardia — may be shattered. 

Warming centers have been set up in Jersey City, Nassau County, Newark and Westchester for those without a place to go during the brutal freeze. 

There are wind chill watches Saturday evening through Sunday morning for a string of counties across our area, among them: Bergen, Passaic, Westchester, Fairfield, Rockland, Sussex, Ulster, Dutchess, Sullivan and Pike. 

The New York City Buildings Department has ordered all crane operations suspended on Saturday. Last week's deadly crane collapse in Tribeca prompted Mayor Bill de Blasio to implement new crane protocols requiring that tall crawler cranes now go into safety mode whenever the forecast predicts winds of 20 mph or more. The previous threshold was 30 mph or more. 

Saturday's wind gusts are forecast to gust up to 45 mph in the city. 

The department has also issued an advisory urging property owners, builders and contractors to secure any loose material, equipment and scaffolding in preparation for the high winds. 

Meanwhile, New Yorkers are worried about warming their homes in the bitter cold. The city's 311 hotline has seen a spike in calls this week about no heat or hot water, according to the  Department of Housing Preservation and Development: on Tuesday, there were over 1,200 calls, Wednesday saw 1,100 calls and then a jump to 1,800 calls on Thursday. By 4 p.m. Friday, there were 1,850 complaints. 

The cold weather is also thought to be a contributing factor to a track condition inside the Hudson River Tunnel that was causing delays on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor service Friday afternoon, according to an Amtrak spokesman. 

Other than the cold, it will be mostly sunny over the weekend, with flurries and gusty winds.

It will begin to warm up next week, with highs in the low 30s on Monday and mid to upper 40s on Tuesday and Wednesday. But a wintry mix and rain may accompany the warm-up Tuesday night through Wednesday morning.

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