Watch CBS News

Bitterly Cold Air Leads To Record Lows, Brutal Wind Chills Across Tri-State Area

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Bundle up! Winter is keeping its icy grip on the Tri-State area as Arctic air continues to plunge the region into a deep freeze.

The New York City Office of Emergency Management has issued a new weather alert ahead of the dangerously low temperatures that are set to continue Friday night followed by a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain this weekend.

Bitter Blast: Forecast & Alerts | Cold Weather Safety Tips

The Department of Sanitation has also issued a snow alert Saturday, meaning crews, plows and other equipment are ready to clear any snow that may hit the city.

A winter weather advisory was issued until 5 a.m. Sunday for most of the Tri-State Area, CBS2's Lonnie Quinn reported. Some outlying areas to the north and west were under a winter weather watch.

According to the North American Mesoscale Forecast System model, accumulation will likely total 4 inches in New York City; 3.8 inches in Montgomery; 2.5 inches in Danbury, Connecticut; and just 0.2 inches in Brick, New Jersey. But Sparta, New Jersey could see a pile-up of 7.1 inches.

Meanwhile, the bitterly cold air and brutal wind chills sent temperatures plummeting to new record lows Friday morning, and the miserable conditions continued throughout the day into Friday night. As of 11 p.m., it was just 15 degrees at Central Park, with the wind chill making it feel like 13.

The temperature at Newark Liberty International Airport was 1 degree Friday morning, beating a former record low of 5 degrees. The previous record was set in 1936.

Trenton's temperature fell to zero around 7:20 a.m. That beats the record low of 6 set in 1936. In sections of the state, wind chills reached 10 to 20 degrees below zero.

New Yorkers Brave Bitter Cold

In New York City, the temperature in Central Park hit a record 2 degrees Friday morning, beating the previous low of 7 set in 1950. The wind chill there hit minus 11.

"I can't feel anything," Harlem resident Jebeh Kanneh told CBS2's Vanessa Murdock. "My face is numb, everything is numb, I can't move."

"I can't even talk, it's so cold," one man walking in Midtown Manhattan told 1010 WINS' John Montone.

"It's not too bad once you get working and stuff, but the minute you start standing still, it's cold," another man in the Bronx told WCBS 880's Sean Adams.

Cold Hits Hard On Long Island

"I can't remember a time in my life when it was this cold," a man in Kings Park, Long Island told WCBS 880's Mike Xirinachs.

Mt. Vernon resident Susan Murray found out the hard way that in this cold weather, every extremity must be covered.

"I was walking down the street a block or two and had to turn back. I forgot my gloves this morning and my hands felt like they were going to fall off," she said.

New Yorkers Brave Bitter Cold

As CBS2's Matt Kozar reported, some tourists planned ahead of time. Sharon Detweiler and her daughter, Brittany, were visiting from Florida and bought winter clothes in Sarasota before venturing north.

"This thing is a life saver, because you can kind of tuck it up as far as you need it to -- even over your ears," Brittany Detweiler said of the scarf that was covering her mouth.

But doctors warned that too much layering can actually be dangerous.

"We do get concerned about children that over-bundle," said emergency room physician Dr. Robert Glatter, of Lenox Hill Hospital. "That can actually lead to a fever."

Glatter said the fever is caused by trapped body heat But the same does not apply for adults, who have more body mass.

He added that anyone working outside in the bitter cold should drink water, avoid caffeine, and bundle up.

"The more layers the better -- at least three -- and they should be loose fitting," he said. "Cotton is not a good thing to wear in this weather. It doesn't insulate your body. Wool is the best insulator, especially for your feet."

Glatter also told CBS2 about a phenomenon called paradoxical undressing, when people experiencing hypothermia take off their clothes because they feel hot and disoriented. They are confused because of less blood flow to their brain.

If you see such a thing happening to someone in the bitter cold weather, you should call for medical help.

And experts say if you don't have to be out and about, stay inside. Dr. Eric Cruzen, medical director at the Lenox Hill Healthplex, said it takes just 15 minutes for frostbite to set in under these conditions.

Police Keep Eye Out For Those Suffering In Brutal Cold

"The first signs would be numbness, tingling, burning in the exposed areas which can express to complete numbness -- then you're in trouble," Cruzen told Murdock.

If you do start feeling symptoms, get inside where it's warm.

"One of the worst things you can do is warm up and cool down, warm up and cool down," said Cruzen. "Try to get out of the cold and stay out of the cold."

For more cold weather safety tips, visit or check out the New York City OEM winter weather page.

On Long Island, police in Suffolk County are trained to look out for those who may be suffering in the cold.

"We asked them to be vigilant, during the course of their patrol duties, to pay close attention to wooded areas and abandoned vehicles where people might be harboring and trying to find shelter but that shelter is not adequate in this cold weather," Sgt. Colleen Cooney told WCBS 880's Sophia Hall.

If a person in need is found, Cooney said the officer will get them to a shelter to keep warm.

Commuters Face Arctic Air, Bitter Cold

WCBS 880's Sophia Hall spoke with one Bethpage Water District employee who, along with two others, were outside for five hours fixing a frozen water main.

"You tried to get used to it, but you really don't. Try to dress in layers and do the best you can," he said.

Workers took turns getting warm in the trucks, staying outside for a maximum of 10 minutes each.

Meanwhile, the bitter cold has also made it tough for commuters.

The ferry commute across the Hudson River has been blustery and bumpy and the icy river conditions means steel tug boats are used to cut through the thickest chunks first, leaving a path for the lighter ferries.

"We're crunching through the ice and me and the lady next to me are like, 'What's going on here?'" ferry passenger Lindsey Neff told CBS2's Andrea Grymes.

"At first it's interesting, it looks a bit adventurous. Then you kind of get over it pretty fast," ferry passenger Lise Landeau said.

"I think it's great on the ferry in this weather because you get to see ice flows coming down on the Hudson," another ferry passenger told 1010 WINS' Glenn Schuck. "As long as you dressed for it, it's fabulous."

NY Waterway says these are the iciest conditions in the company's 28-year history.

"It's challenging because it damages the propellers, which obviously makes it more difficult for us to get through the water," said NY Waterway Capt. Paul Sprieser.

In Port Jefferson, ice encrusted the pylons and only the tugs and ferries could get through, TV 10/55's Richard Rose reported.

The ferry across Long Island Sound to Bridgeport ran at half speed to avoid hitting buoys pushed out of place by ice.

Most NY Waterway ferries were operating Friday, but conditions forced the Waterway to cancel service in Edgewater and downtown Manhattan.

Friday night, ferry service was cancelled from the World Financial Center to Port Imperial and Hoboken.

Buses have also replaced ferry service on the Haverstraw-Ossining and Beacon-Newburgh routes because of ice on the Hudson River.

Brutal Cold Takes Toll On Ferry Riders

The cold has caused some issues on the rails as well.

NJ TRANSIT trains on the Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast, Raritan Valley, and Morris & Essex Lines were subject to delays of a full hour throughout the evening rush and beyond, after ice covered the tracks in the Hudson River Tunnel.

Many customers ended up sitting on the floor – frustrated to get home after an exhausting few days in the deep freeze.

Also Friday evening, Long Island Rail Road service was suspended for a period of time between Ronkonkoma and Greenport because the winds were so high that they blew snow onto the rails.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.