Area residents warned to take precautions – dress warmly, stay inside whenever possible
All talk of the supposedly mild winter of 2022-23 will disappear this weekend as some of the coldest weather in half a decade rushes in with an arctic wave. The extreme cold will affect the entire state of Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service, including Eastern Massachusetts and The Advocate readership area of Everett, Malden, Saugus and Revere.
Forecasters say the mega-extreme cold air mass – which combined with wind gusts could produce a near-record, -40 below zero wind chill factor – arrives late tonight and early Saturday morning, and temperatures could drop as low as 5 to 10 degrees below zero by midnight. It is potentially record-setting, as the existing record for February 4 in Boston is -4 degrees below zero. A -5 degrees reading would establish a new record cold. It would be the coldest air in the city since Valentine’s Day weekend in 2016, when temperatures dropped to -9 degrees. The extreme temperatures will settle in in the early morning hours on Saturday and rise slightly above zero and only as high as about 10-15 degrees throughout the day.
According to the National Weather Service, a “brutal windchill” will accompany the dangerously cold air mass, which could dip as low as 25-40 degrees below zero in our greater Boston and North Shore areas of Massachusetts – even lower to -40 below zero in other parts of the state. One of the most dangerous aspects of the extreme cold air mass, forecasters say, are the expected wind gusts up to 35 to 45 miles per hour, making it feel even colder. The windchill – a measure of what it will feel like due to the combination of temperatures and wind – is expected to be close to 30 below zero Friday night into Saturday morning.
The National Weather Service early Wednesday morning issued a windchill watch for all of Massachusetts from late Thursday to Saturday afternoon. The peak of the windchill is expected through early Friday evening, forecasters said, before it drops off slightly overnight into Saturday.
City and town officials in all of our Advocate communities are urging all residents to be extremely cautious in conjunction with this weather, including how to dress in extreme cold and to stay inside as much as possible. The same advice is for humans and pets when venturing outdoors in extreme cold. (See separate story on extreme cold tips.)
Temperatures are expected to return to the slightly above normal temperatures we have been experiencing thus far this winter by Monday, with the thermometer in the low-to-mid 40s, even back to low 50s by Tuesday. There is no substantial snow forecast in the near future, as the snowfall total of just 7 inches so far this winter remains well below normal.
With extreme cold moving into the area today, with record cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills, the National Weather Service offers the following tips on maintaining Extreme Cold Safety.
—Stay indoors during the worst part of the extreme cold.
—Keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle if you must travel.
—Check gas tank supply, tire pressure, antifreeze levels, heater/defroster, etc.
—Learn how to shut off water valves for potential pipe bursts.
—Check on the elderly.
—Bring pets inside.
How Should I Dress?
—Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing and a hat.
—Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves.
—Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
—Try to stay dry and out of the wind.