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Extreme Cold/Polar Vortex




DATE: December 14, 2016

TIME: 3:15 PM

SUBJECT: High Winds and Dangerous Wind Chills Thursday Night into Friday



The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting extreme cold across the region beginning Thursday night and lasting into Friday morning. Dangerously cold wind chills of 10 to 25 below zero are forecast as overnight lows drop into the single digits to several degrees below-zero with sustained northwest winds of 20-30 mph and gusts of up to 60 to 65 mph possible Thursday night between 8 PM and 4 AM.

Accumulating snow is forecast starting Friday night into Saturday morning. Snowfall totals could reach 1-3 inches along the coast and 3-6 inches across interior New England, with up to 8 inches possible over high terrain such as the Berkshires. Snow is expected to change over to rain during the day on Saturday.



Impacts related to extreme cold may include:

  • Potentially life-threatening wind chills
  • Frostbite and hypothermia possible for those without proper protection from the cold
  • Possible increase in fires from alternative heating sources or people trying to thaw frozen pipes with blow torches
  • Possible carbon monoxide poisoning from alternative heating sources
  • Possible vehicle failure
  • Possible water main breaks and pipe bursts


Impacts related to gusty winds may include:

  • Isolated power outages
  • Downed tree limbs


Warnings and Watches

A High Wind Watch is in effect for southern New England from Thursday eveningthrough late Thursday night.

A Wind Chill Watch is in effect for western, central, and interior northeastern Massachusetts from Thursday evening through Friday morning.

Preparedness and Safety Information

MEMA Operations

The State Emergency Operations Center is operating at Level 1 (Steady State Monitoring). MEMA participated in a Conference call this afternoon with NWS regarding the upcoming weather forecast.  MEMA is coordinating with the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to have awareness of the preparedness actions of the state’s public utility companies and to determine whether a partial activation of the State Emergency Operations Center may be necessary.  MEMA and DPU will hold a conference call tomorrow morning to discuss utility company preparedness and whether to activate the State EOC.

Stay Informed:

For additional information and updated forecasts, see Weather Service Taunton) and (National Weather Service Albany).

Utilize Massachusetts Alerts to receive emergency notifications and information from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service.  Massachusetts Alerts is a free app that is available for Android and iPhones. To learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for information on how to download the free app onto your smartphone, visit:

Utilize MEMA’s real-time power outage viewer to stay informed about current power outages in your community and region, and across the state, including information from utility companies about restoration times:

Utilize MEMA’s live weather radar and forecasting tools, including the live snowfall forecast map:

Online Resources:

For additional information and resources, visit:
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency at
MEMA's Facebook page:
MEMA Twitter: @MassEMA
Federal Emergency Management Agency at
National Weather Service/Taunton at
National Weather Service/Albany, NY at
National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center:
National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center:
Northeast River Forecast Center:
Mass211 at