While today (Wednesday) will be pretty cold, bitter and dangerous cold is anticipated Wednesday night and Thursday. This is part of what could be one of the longest stretches of below-freezing weather on record for Providence. Now is the time to prepare for the cold. Thursday is when some of the worst of the cold arrives.
For today, temperatures will climb into the low to mid 20s under plenty of sun, but the winds will pick up a bit. The wind chills Wednesday afternoon will fall into the single digits and teens.
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The dangerous cold begins to arrive tonight as temperatures drop and the winds pick up. By midnight, feel like temps will be around zero under clear skies.
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Morning lows on Thursday will be in the single digits, possibly hitting the record low of 4° from 1950. The record for the lowest high temperature is 21° (1976), and that could be broken Thursday afternoon.
The winds will be strong from the northwest on Thursday, sustained at 10-25mph with higher gusts through the day. Wind chills in the morning will be between -5 and -15…that’s bordering on some dangerous cold here in Southern New England.
It really doesn’t look like the feel like temperatures will rise above 0° on Thursday as the winds will remain strong and the temperatures will likely stay in the teens.
You’ll want to limit your time outdoors on Thursday, especially in the morning when the wind chills will be falling to as low as -15. Wind chill advisories and warnings have been posted for Worcester and Norfolk counties, bordering Rhode Island. It’s possible the advisory could be expanded into at least northwest Rhode Island.
If you must spend time outdoors Wednesday night and Thursday, dress in layers and wear a hat, mittens (instead of gloves) and a scarf. Don’t forget your pets…they feel the cold, too! Also, check on the elderly…make sure they are okay.
Before the extreme cold arrives is the time to prepare for it. This cold could cause pipes to freeze in homes and businesses. Insulate your pipes or allow a slow drip to keep the water the moving. Also, now is the time to prepare your car. Keep the car in good working order and have a blanket in the car in the event you break down.
This cold will be here to stay. Temperatures are not expected to rise above freezing through at least the middle of next week and actually maybe not until next weekend. The record for the longest stretch of temperatures below freezing in Providence is 18 days (1961). This stretch could last at least 12 days which would put it in the top 10 of longest stretches of days below freezing in Providence.
-Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo