In Boston, officials planning annual First Night festivities don't have to worry about melting ice sculptures this year. In fact, with air temperatures tumbling toward the single digits on Sunday night, New Year's Eve is going to be so dangerously cold that event organizers have canceled all but the fireworks display.?
In New York City, the ball drop in Times Square will take place amid the coldest weather since about 1962, when the temperature at midnight was a measly 1 degree Fahrenheit. The forecast air temperature at midnight is just 10 degrees above zero, with a wind chill of minus-5 to minus-20 degrees Fahrenheit.?
This will create dangerously cold conditions for anyone venturing out to celebrate the New Year. Translation: dress in layers, and cover up exposed skin, or otherwise risk ringing in the new year with frostbite.?
The cold isn't just disrupting New Year's Eve events in the Northeast, either. The National Weather Service has hoisted cold temperature alerts of some sort, such as wind chill advisories, for 33 states in the lower 48, from Montana to northern Alabama and northeastward to Maine. Alaska climatologist Brian Brettschneider calculated that the eastern half of the U.S. is likely to experience its coldest New Year's in at least 70 years.
Could this be the coldest midnight temperature on NYE in #NYC since 1962? Sure looks like it could be! We are currently forecasting a temperature of 10° with a wind chill temperature of -4° at midnight tonight in Central Park. pic.twitter.chartph.com/GGTONb7bq6
— NWS New York NY (@NWSNewYorkNY) December 31, 2017
On Sunday morning, Hettinger, North Dakota, reported a wind chill of minus-58 degres Fahrenheit, which is about as cold as it gets even in that northern location. Wind chills that low could lead to frostbite on exposed skin in 10 minutes or less.
The unusually prolonged Arctic outbreak has already set dozens of records for overnight low temperatures and the coldest daytime highs on record. Many locations in the East appear set to break records for the coldest New Year's Day on record, with high temperatures struggling to climb above 10 degrees Fahrenheit in Boston, for example. Boston and New York City are in the running to break cold duration records, with the most straight days below 20 degrees Fahrenheit in Boston, and largest number of days below freezing in New York City.?
The U.S. is currently home to the most unusually cold air of anywhere on Earth, with much of the rest of the planet experiencing milder-than-average conditions for this time of year. The frigid weather is the product of a highly amplified, or wavy, jet stream.?