Northeast braces for possible ‘life-threatening’ cold weather

The National Weather Service said Friday the coldest air mass of the winter may hit the Northeast this weekend and New Yorkers are being urged to take notice.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned residents to take “extreme precautions” over the weekend and heed cold-weather warnings. He said city workers would also bring people living on the street to shelters or hospitals.

A wind-chill advisory was in effect for New York City beginning Saturday afternoon and will continue until noon Sunday. With the actual temperatures falling as low as 4 degrees below, the weather service said the city could see wind chills of 18 degrees below to 24 degrees below. Wind gusts could reach up to 45 mph.

New York officials also canceled the Central Park Ice Festival because of the upcoming bitter temperatures, according to The Guardian. The festival is a free event featuring ice carving.

Much of the Northeast is expected to feel similar freezing temperatures. Most of Massachusetts will be under a wind-chill advisory as well from 4 p.m. Saturday until noon Sunday, according to The Boston Globe. The wind chill index is expected to fall below minutes-25 degrees for at least three hours.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency warned of “potentially life-threatening wind chills” and the possibility of water mains and pipes bursting due to the freeze. MEMA said the frozen temperatures could lead to down trees and power outages and urged residents to be prepared.

“Extremely low temperatures present challenges for our city,” Boston mayor Martin Walsh said. “I ask each and every single Boston resident to stay safe and to look after their neighbors.”

Connecticut residents are gearing up to battle the freezing temps during Valentine’s Day weekend too. Parts of the state are under similar wind chill advisories while emergency crews already were dealing with weather-related incidents on the roadways.

Emergency crews had already responded to more than 1,000 calls for help since 8 a.m. Friday, AAA spokeswoman Amy Parmenter told the Hartford Courant.

“Battery calls are double what they would typically be at this time of year but we’ve also seen an increase in calls for tows and of course tires,” Parmenter added.

AAA warned potential motorists to be prepared in case their vehicle breaks down by making sure their cellphones are fully charged and they are wearing the proper winter gear. They were also urged to carry extra blankets and snacks in the event of a possible breakdown.

The bitter cold is expected to settle in over the next several days but temperatures may rise by Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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