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🥶 It’s about to get dangerously cold outside

I read somewhere that people used to stick baked potatoes in their pockets to use as hand warmers.Elizabeth Karmel/Associated Press

What’s worse: Freezing temperatures with no snow to play in or extreme heat with no pool to jump in?

It’s looking like Rhode Island is about to see its most frigid weather since at least Valentine’s Day 2016, with temperatures expected to fall below zero at some point later tonight or early tomorrow morning. The windchill could drop to 29 degrees below zero at some point in the next 24 hours.

A handful of schools – including Providence – are closed today, and the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency has published a list of warming centers that are open. If you’re looking for ways to prevent pipes from freezing, here’s a helpful guide.


If you were wondering, temperatures have fallen below zero at least 92 times since 1948, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But it is highly unlikely that we’ll break any records today or tomorrow.

According to NOAA, here are the four coldest days recorded at Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport since 1948:

Jan. 23, 1976: -13 degrees

Jan. 5, 1981: -12 degrees

Jan. 22, 1976: -10 degrees

Dec. 25, 1980: -10 degrees

We hit 9 degrees below zero on Valentine’s Day in 2016 and on at least four other occasions over the past 75 years.

I read somewhere that people used to stick baked potatoes in their pockets to keep warm. I looked it up, and if House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi wanted to put his state-leading $1.7 million in campaign money to good use, he could buy enough baked potatoes from Gregg’s to hand a pair to every public K-12 student in Rhode Island to walk home with this afternoon.

This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter about Rhode Island that also contains information about local events, data about the coronavirus in the state, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.


Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.