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Bitter Cold Across Tri-State After Dramatic Drop In Temperatures

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Bitter winter weather made for a tough morning commute for many across the Tri-State area Tuesday.

Temperatures dropped dramatically in the first days of the new year. In New York City, the Bryant Park fountain in Manhattan was partially frozen early Tuesday morning, a far cry from the record 72 degrees just 12 days ago.

CHECK: Forecast

With temperatures feeling like they're near or below zero for the commute, some waited in their cars at the Mineola train station.

"It's terrible out there so trying to keep my body warm right now and run on this train," commuter Angelo McDeggan told CBS2's Diane Macedo.

Some killed time in the waiting area.

"Thirty degrees warmer in here than it is outside," said commuter James Schuster.

An Upper West Side man who was headed to Central Park for an early-morning jog said he was wearing "double of all the usual stuff." He said he was wearing shorts just last month.

"The weather's all over the place," he told WCBS 880's Marla Diamond. "It just seems like the new normal.

Am maintenance worker who was sweeping a sidewalk on Broadway before sunrise said: "It's supposed to be winter. We've got to get used to it."

But Tri-State area businesses that sell cold-weather accessories are loving the winter blast.

"People are finally buying ice melter and cold winter supplies and that kind of stuff, and it's great," said Bill Weinblatt of Wise Hardware.

"We do better when it's cold," said Mark Epstein of Epstein's Dry Goods. "Last year was a great year for snow boots and hats and gloves and all that stuff, you know. You sold out pretty much everything you owned."

It's set to remain cold the rest of the day Tuesday with a high around 30. Tuesday night will be very cold with a low of 16 in some suburbs to 23 in Midtown.

It warms back up Wednesday afternoon with a high of 40.

PSE&G offered these tips to control energy costs while staying warm:

  • Lower your thermostat by just one degree, which may reduce your heating bill by up to 3 percent. Save even more by lowering your thermostat 2 degrees during the day when you are home, and 5 to 10 degrees when you are away and at bedtime, if health conditions permit.
  • Close fireplace dampers when not in use.
  • Close and latch your windows.
  • Set your hot water heater to no more than 120 degrees.
  • Move furniture and drapes away from heating registers, radiators, and baseboard element covers. Open any register or baseboard dampers.
  • Remove or cover window air conditioners to reduce drafts. Install insulated or lined drapes on your windows.
  • Open your curtains and blinds that face the sun on sunny days to warm your home, and close them at night to keep the warm air inside.
  • Use weather stripping or caulk to seal up cracks and prevent drafts in windows and doorframes. Beneath doors, install draft guards available at hardware stores.
  • Use a shrink film insulation kit, commonly available at home improvement centers, on drafty windows or make one yourself from plastic sheeting and double-faced tape.
  • Seal wall switches and electrical outlets on exterior walls of your home with small foam gaskets available from home improvement centers and hardware stores. Remove the cover plate, insert the gasket, and screw the cover plate back in place.
  • Keep your garage door closed if the garage is attached to the house.
  • If your budget permits, install (or have installed) a programmable thermostat that you can set to automatically lower room temperatures when rooms are not in use and at bedtime, if health conditions permit.
  • Check for sufficient water levels in the sight glass for steam heating systems to ensure maximum efficiency. Clean or replace the furnace filter on hot air heating systems.
  • Calculate your home's energy efficiency by clicking here.

You can also check a complete list of saving tips and tools by clicking here.

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