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Extended Arctic Freeze Begins, Schools Opening Late

by on January 22, 2014 6:30 AM

For the second time this month the State College area is locked in the ice box thanks to another surge of Arctic cold.

The National Weather Service issued a Wind Chill Advisory for the State College area that will be in effect until noon Wednesday. Wind chills are expected to get as low as negative 15 with wind gusts up to 25 mph.

At 5:30 Wednesday morning it was one degree outside with the wind chill making it feel like negative 11.

The State College Area School District says schools will open on a two hour delay because of the weather. School officials are not only concerned about student safety, they're worried that school buses won't start because of the cold.

It will remain extremely cold for the next 10 days, with temperatures are only expected to reach above freezing once, maybe twice, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Edwards.

"This pattern we're in is a very cold pattern. It looks like it's going to continue right through the end of the month," Edwards says.

The high is expected to be 10 on Wednesday with 10 to 20 mph winds making it feel below zero for most of the day.

"The good thing is the wind will diminish as we go into tomorrow evening," Edwards says.

The low temperature Wednesday night will be 4. The high for Thursday will be 16. Some snow showers are also expected with little to no accumulation. Thursday night will be close to zero. Friday's high will be around 14 degrees.

Saturday will be warmer with a high around 28, with one to two inches of snow expected. Temperatures are expected to fall right back down on Sunday and Monday with highs in the teens.

Into early next week, the polar vortex will hover just north of the United States border sending waves of frigid air blasting into the Midwest and much of the Northeast. A total of three waves of arctic air will blast across the Midwest and Northeast into next week.

While temperatures will briefly rebound in between the reinforcing waves of cold air, the rebounds will be much less pronounced from the Midwest to New England and may be barely noticeable in the northern tier states.

In Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New York City, temperatures may only surpass the freezing mark on one or two days through Jan. 31.

Temperatures could dip low enough to inhibit the effectiveness of most inexpensive ice melting compounds. Rock salt will not work when the temperature drops to 15 degrees or lower.

The advancing cold will be severe enough to bring life-threatening conditions, hypothermia and the risk of frostbite. The penetrating cold also has the potential to cause water main breaks.

When the weather is extremely cold, and especially if there are high winds, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people try to stay indoors. The CDC says folks should make any trips outside as brief as possible, and to do the following:

- Wear layered clothing along with a hat, scarf, cloves and water-resistant coat and boots.

- Stay dry as wet clothing will chill the body rapidly.

- Also, avoid getting gasoline or alcohol on your skin while de-icing and fueling your car or using a snow blower. These materials in contact with the skin greatly increase heat loss from the body.

- Do not ignore shivering as it is the first sign that the body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.

- Avoid exertion.

- Be cautious about travel by staying up to date on weather reports and advisories and avoiding travel during low-visibility and icy conditions.

- If you do travel, tell someone where you're going and when you expect to arrive. Ask them to notify authorities if you're late.

For the latest weather advisories and warnings, click HERE.

For the latest AccuWeather forecast, click HERE.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for StateCollege.com. She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government. jenn.miller@statecollege.com
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