Polar Vortex will bring subzero temps to Miami Valley region

Published: Monday, January 28, 2019 @ 10:17 AM
Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2019 @ 6:04 AM

Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini explains what it is and how dangerous it will be.

Record-setting frigid air and bitter, subzero wind chills are on the way this week, caused by a Polar Vortex coming out of Canada.

A wind chill advisory goes into effect for the region on Wednesday and Thursday as temperatures are expected to dip below zero. The combination of wind and breezy conditions will lead to potentially dangerous wind chills.

MORE: Warming centers open at local facilities

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Storm Center 7 meteorologist Molly Coates says arctic air that is causing extreme cold to the Northern Plains and Great Lakes will move into southwest Ohio by the middle of the week, and that temperatures will plummet as a result. Wednesday will be frigid with subzero temperatures in the morning and Dayton likely staying near 0 through the afternoon. 

“The record coldest temperature in the Dayton area is 2 degrees set in 1966 for January 30. The record lowest minimum temperature in the Dayton area was set during the same time frame, and was minus 10 degrees,” Coates said. 

“This Arctic outbreak has the potential to break or tie these records." 

A bicyclist crosses the Stewart Street Bridge in bitterly cold temperatures. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Staff Writer)

Not only will it be cold, it will also be windy. Wind chill will be a huge factor from Wednesday through Thursday. The wind Wednesday will be sustained between 10-20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph. Wind chill is a "feels like" temperature. 

“Or in other words, what it will feel like to us when we walk out the door. This occurs when cold air, and gusty winds combine to create a very cold wind chill,” Coates said. 

“We are expecting wind chills to fall between minus 25 and minus 35 in the morning and remain below zero all day. A wind chill warning has been issued to deal with the dangerously low wind chill values."

MORE: Springfield Soup Kitchen provides warming center as bitter cold arrives

The American Red Cross is asking agencies and residents to make sure elderly persons are safe during the cold snap. The agency also is reminding people to check on all family members, as well as their pets.

For people who have to be outdoors, dress in layers to protect against frostbite and hypothermia. Also wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers can help combat the frigid weather, according to the Red Cross.

Bring any pets or companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles.

Tips to survive in bitter cold weather from the American Red Cross:

1) Dress in layers: Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers.

2) Winterize your vehicle: Keeping your gas tank full will help avoid a frozen fuel line.

3) Slow down on roadways: Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement only. Leave plenty of room for stopping and don’t use cruise control in wintry conditions.

4) Leave your water running: Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing. Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage. It’s also a good idea to keep your thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and night.

5) Install carbon monoxide alarms: Carbon monoxide can occur when any appliance that burns wood or fuel is malfunctioning or poorly vented.

6) Keep your pets warm: Bring any pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles.

7) Build an emergency kit well in advance: It’s always a good idea to be prepared! Don’t forget to include critical documents, medications, food, water, blankets and warm clothing for your entire family.

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