A quick shot of arctic air will bring bitter cold to southern New Hampshire late Monday into Tuesday.
The high temperature on Tuesday is expected to be just 9 degrees, but the wind chill could make it feel like 20 to 25 below zero in the Manchester area. Winds of 5 to 10 mph will come from the northwest, with gusts as high as 20 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
The last time the region experienced such bitter cold was Jan. 21, 2019, almost three years ago, according to Derek Schroeter, meteorologist with the weather service.
“We are looking at very cold high temperatures,” he said. “We are really going to struggle to get out of the single digits.”
The weather will bounce back to the 30s on Wednesday.
The average temperature this time of year is a high of 34 degrees with a low of 18 for this time of year, Schroeter said. “We are looking at typical January temperatures of 20s and 30s for the rest of the week,” Schroeter said.
The cold weather front might also bring snow showers, but only a dusting to an inch, Schroeter said.
“The main concern is to cover exposed skin (Tuesday) morning and avoid long exposure,” Schroeter said. “It is the coldest it has been in a few years, but it is not record cold.”
Frostbite can begin in as little as 10 minutes depending on the conditions.
A wind chill advisory is in effect for parts of Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford and Sullivan counties from 2 to 10 a.m. Tuesday.
A wind chill warning is in effect for Coos and Grafton counties from 10 p.m. Monday to noon Tuesday.
“Remember to check on your family, the elderly, or others with access and functional needs, this includes your pets, to make sure they are safe and have heat,” said Jennifer Harper, director of the New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management, in a statement. “Stay indoors if you can. If you must go outside, dress in layers, cover exposed skin and limit time outside.”
Families in Transition has outreach teams warning the homeless about the temperature dip and offering warm clothes. The organization has 138 adult emergency beds in its Manchester shelter.
The warming station at 1269 Cafe on Union Street has space for about 50 from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. nightly. The space is operated in conjunction with Hope for New Hampshire Recovery.
The organizations are prepared for flexibility depending on the need, according to 1269 Cafe co-founder Mary Chevalier.
“The purpose of the overnight warming station has always been harm reduction/fatality prevention,” she said in a statement.
The fire department will be conducting "fatality prevention outreach in all city encampments" during the day.
The cafe will also be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. to provide coffee and lunch.
The Manchester City Library and the West Branch will be open.
The Manchester Fire Prevention Division has asked residents who are using emergency heat sources to keep everything at least three feet away from combustible materials and turn them off when you leave the room or go to bed, according to a news release. Heaters should be plugged directly into the wall and not an extension cord.
Other recommendations include making sure smoke and carbon monoxide alarms have been tested and work.
No COVID sites
The state is won't be opening its four COVID-19 testing sites on Tuesday because of the extreme cold. The centers are located in Claremont, Manchester, Nashua and Newington.
The decision was made "out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of staff and patients," a statement reads.
The sites are expected to reopen at 9 a.m. Wednesday. For residents seeking testing on Jan. 11, more than 100 indoor testing locations will be open to safely meet the testing needs of residents.