As you celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday, you’re going to want to crank up the heat inside and have the fireplace lit as record-breaking cold infiltrates the northeastern US. A very cold pocket of air originating from Canada and associated with the Polar Vortex will be responsible for this bone-chilling air mass.

As millions wake up on the morning of Thanksgiving, lows will be in the single digits and teens for most. Even some towns in Upstate New York and northern New England will drop below zero. Almost every climate recording station in the northern Mid-Atlantic and all of New England is forecast to break a daily record low temperature. With wind gusts up to 30 mph in the lower elevations and 50 mph in the mountains, that will make for wind chills up to 20 degrees cooler than the actual air temperature.

Here’s the forecast low temperatures Thursday morning for select cities:

  • New York: 19°F
  • Boston: 14°F
  • Philadelphia: 21°F
  • Portland: 9°F
  • Buffalo: 12°F
  • Saranac Lake, NY: -4°F

As the solar radiation increases from the sun as the day progresses on Thursday, that will allow for temperatures to climb somewhat, but in most areas it will remain below freezing, making for conditions up to 43 degrees below average. Widespread high temperatures in the teens and 20s are in the cards for most, but even a few of towns in the higher elevations will only max out in the single digits. Record cold high temperatures will be widespread — even more than the low temperatures — and may reach as far south as Virginia Beach.

Here’s the forecast high temperatures Thursday for select cities:

  • New York: 27°F
  • Boston: 22°F
  • Philadelphia: 25°F
  • Portland: 17°F
  • Buffalo: 21°F
  • Saranac Lake, NY: 9°F

Friday morning will be even cooler as the cold air continues to ooze south while the arctic high pressure becomes centered over the region. The clear skies and light winds will allow for temperatures to reach the coolest of levels they are capable of accomplishing. Once again, widespread lows of the single digits and teens are forecast, but there will be various areas that drop below the zero degree mark in the interior. This time, however, temperatures of that magnitude may be recorded as far south as Massachusetts.

Temperatures will finally begin to “warm up” Friday afternoon as the arctic air exits offshore. Nonetheless, it will still be very chilly with highs ranging from the single digits to the 30s in the Northeast. Record cold high temperatures will also be broken in parts of the Mid-Atlantic and New England.

Warmer air will then return this weekend with temperatures still a bit below average on Saturday before it becomes near-average on Sunday.

Have a happy Thanksgiving from us at WeatherOptics! Stay safe in the cold.


Jackson is Head of Content at WeatherOptics and produces several forecasts and manages all social media platforms. Previously, Jackson forecasted local weather for southwestern Connecticut, founding his website, Jackson's Weather, in the March of 2015. He is currently studying Meteorology and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Miami.

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