Ns News Online Desk: The Big Apple was clobbered by a snow squall Wednesday that included blinding whiteout conditions — a day before an arctic blast was set to plunge temperatures to the single digits and wind chills as low as minus 20.
The highest the mercury will get Thursday is a teeth-chattering 16 degrees — with a low of 4 in Midtown, according to AccuWeather.
But whipping winds between 15 and 40 mph will make it feel well below zero all day. “It’ll be windy and bitterly cold,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Paul Walker. “You’ll see sunshine, but it’ll be ineffective.”
City kids will have to brave bone-chilling temperatures and minus-20 wind chills after Mayor Bill de Blasio ruled that schools will be open. “I don’t want my grandchildren going to school . . . to come home with frostbite,” said 89-year-old Queens resident Gertie Kirschne. “It’s much too cold. My grandchildren should have a day of fun and glistening.”
The cold front swept into the city Wednesday following an approximately 30-minute snow squall that bewildered some New Yorkers.
“[It was] scary, terrifying, it was like a whiteout,” Debbie Lew, a 22-year-old babysitter said, adding that she rushed into a Dunkin’ Donuts to wait out the storm with hot cocoa.
“I could barley see cars, just headlights on the road,” she said.
Meteorologists say snow squalls are similar to summer thunderstorms in that they’re brief but fierce. The squall Wednesday dumped about an inch of snow on city streets, with heavy winds at times propelling the flakes sideways.
The scene of a multiple- vehicle crash on the Thruway near Batavia, New York
Snow squall causes massive pileups in New York, Pennsylvania Some 700 salt spreaders were deployed so that what was left on the ground didn’t turn to ice as temperatures plummeted. “This really is a piece of the polar vortex,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Dave Bowers. “We’re getting some of the coldest air in North America.”
A food stand owner named Rubin Abyab, 65, said he’d be taking the day off Thursday — even if it meant missing out on income. “I’m not happy about losing money. I’m miserable,” he said. But, he explained, “I’m not scared of cold because I’m from Russia. But Americans are scared, so will skip work instead of buying my coffee!” Abyab should be back slinging joe outside Queens Criminal Court by Friday, when it’ll be a comparatively balmy 23 degrees.
By Saturday, temperatures will finally be above freezing, and we may see a couple of days in the 50s next week. “As bad as it is, it leaves,” Bowers said about the blast.