Dangerous bitter cold temperatures are coming this week as meteorologists warn people to pack up and prepare for freezing air and negative wind chill.
A gush of arctic air brings the coldest temperatures of the season from Monday night to Tuesday. Temperatures will bottom in the single digits, and wind chill levels will feel even colder in the breezy winds – up to 20 below zero in parts of Massachusetts.
For wind chill values below -15 degrees, a wind chill warning will apply from Tuesday morning.
“The cold wind can freeze exposed skin in just 30 minutes,” says the National Weather Service recommendation. “Be careful when traveling outside. Wear appropriate clothing, a hat and gloves. “
Tuesday will be the coldest day of the coming week. The bitter cold is expected to last until Tuesday afternoon when the high inland temperatures may not be in the single digits. Boston’s maximum temperature should be in the lower teenage range.
Then from Tuesday night to Wednesday the high pressure system connected to the Arctic air mass shifts to the east. Temperatures will recover, but not until another bitterly cold Wednesday morning.
A single digit to perhaps minus degrees are possible again on Wednesday morning, but the wind chills will be less than on Tuesday. By Wednesday afternoon, temperatures will recover into the 1930s – closer to normal for January in New England.
In the run-up to the bitterly cold temperatures, the region had to contend with icy rain on Sunday, which iced up many roads and led to car accidents and turning.
“Soldiers from the Sturbridge, Holden and Leominster barracks respond to numerous vehicle accidents caused by freezing conditions,” tweeted the Massachusetts State Police. “Rt 190 North in West Boylston is down at Exit 9 due to heavy ice. Rt 84 East in Sturbridge has a left lane closure. Roads that are treated. “
New Hampshire State Police responded to more than 25 vehicles that went off the road in freezing conditions or were involved in minor accidents on Interstate 93.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation had used more than 500 pieces of equipment for snow and ice operations.
As forecasters track the frigid temperatures along the way, forecasters will monitor two southbound ocean storms that could get close enough to hit the region on Thursday and next weekend.
The National Weather Service’s forecasting discussion states: “We will certainly keep a close eye on these two systems as we head into the next week.”