Polar Vortex Brings Freezing Temps to LI, Creates Dangerously Cold Weather Across US


A burst of arctic air has sent temperatures plummeting on Long Island and through much of the country.

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There might not be much snow on the ground anymore, but Long Island is still quite clearly in the midst of winter. After a warm, rainy reprieve washed away what remained of Friday’s snowstorm on Monday, strong winds blew in overnight and sent the temperature plummeting.

Lows reached well into the single digits last night, and highs for much of the Island are expected to hover around 14° F. The National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook, including a Wind Advisory for winds up to 30 mph and gusts as strong as 45 mph, as well as a Wind Chill Advisory for a chill factor that can make it feel as low as -15°. The frigid temperatures and high winds combined with yesterday’s rain caused many schools to delay opening this morning, and a few to even close.

The cause for the sudden shift in temperatures is the northern hemisphere’s polar vortex—a low-pressure system that spins over the arctic and usually spans between 600 and 1,240 miles in length—which has been briefly distorted, sending a rush of arctic air much further south than normal. This stream of frigid temperatures has hit the eastern two thirds of the continental United States, making parts of the country feel as cold as -50° with wind chill.

Everyone living in an area affected by the vortex’s temporary dip south is advised to stay indoors as much as possible, and to layer clothing when going outside. The NWS cautions that such extreme cold can be dangerous and even life threatening. Temperatures are expected to start evening out tomorrow and could reach the low 50s by the weekend.

The NWS shares just how cold the wind chills are this morning in NYC and on LI via  Twitter:


For the latest information on local School Closings & Delays, go to LongIsland.com’s School Closings Page.

For the most up to date weather information, visit the LongIsland.com Weather Center, where you can find the latest weather forecasts, advisories, and more.

[Source: National Weather Service]