SHREWSBURY, Mass. — People in central Massachusetts woke to frigid temperatures this morning, and they can expect the extreme cold to stick around the rest of the week.
The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill advisory in our area from 7 p.m. Wednesday until 10 a.m. Thursday, as wind chill readings could fall to minus-17 degrees. The coldest temperatures will occur after midnight, and there will be a heightened threat of frostbite or hypothermia for anyone who ventures outside.
The service is expecting highs only near 14 Wednesday afternoon, with a wind chill as low as 16. It gets colder tonight, with a low of 2 and a minus-10 wind chill. Wind gusts could be as high as 25 mph.
Winds will increase Thursday with gusts as high as 31 mph, with wind chill hitting minus-12.
In an alert to local residents Wednesday, the Shrewsbury Board of Health stated: "Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can cause serious or life-threatening health problems. Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk, but anyone can be affected."
Safety officials are urging adults and children to wear layers, along with hats, gloves, scarves or masks, and mittens. They also are asking residents to be extremely careful when using a fireplace, wood stove, or space heater. Download the Worcester Division of Public Health and Central Massachusetts Regional Public Health Alliance's extreme cold safety tips at the link below.
To make matters worse, Shrewsbury Emergency Management Weather Analyst Jim Arnold said he is tracking a storm that may hit the area Friday or Friday night.
"This system has the potential to pick up a lot of moisture and provide us with perhaps the biggest snowfall so far this winter season," Arnold said. "It may also bring with it more wind and consequently blowing and drifting will likely occur."