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New England will be the coldest place in the US on Friday

A woman uses her scarf to protect herself from the cold while passing through Copley Square in Boston on Thursday. Craig F. Walker/Globe staff

New Englanders will make their way to school and work on Friday in near-record cold and brutal winds as the region plunges into a deep freeze.

The arctic air mass that swept in Thursday will make the region the coldest spot in the United States, according to the National Weather Service in Taunton. “ I don’t know how many people will feel honored by that,” meteorologist Frank Nocera said Thursday night.

Some local school districts, including Medford, Worcester, and Lawrence, canceled school on Friday due to the cold. Others, such as Framingham, had delayed openings, according to school websites.

Boston is expected to experience its coldest weather since Valentine’s Day, with the temperature dropping to 4 degrees by about 7 a.m. With the windchill factor, it was expected to feel as cold as minus-20 degrees early Friday, the weather service said.

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Temperatures and windchills were expected to drop even lower in the interior sections of the state, with windchills in some areas dropping to minus-24.

A high wind warning was in effect as of 5 p.m. Thursday to 4 a.m. on Friday. Winds were expected to blow from the west at 15 to 25 miles per hour, with gusts between 50 and 60 miles per hour and near 65 in some places.

On Thursday afternoon, winds at Logan International Airport reached nearly 50 miles per hour. The intense wind forced Boston Winter, the city’s holiday display on City Hall Plaza, to close at 4 p.m., said Meghan McCarrick, a spokeswoman for the festival.

It was even too cold for Old Ironsides.

The USS Constitution ship was closed on Thursday and Friday, but the museum remained open for visitors, the Navy said on the historic site’s Facebook page.

The powerful winds put residents on alert for possible power outages, downed trees, and other possible impacts.

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Heavy winds in Newton caused a tree to fall on power lines on Nobscot Road, trapping a car under several downed lines, according to the fire department.

The two women inside the car were freed after about an hour, according to Lieutenant Eric Fricke.

Eversource determined that the wires were not live, and there were no injuries in the incident, Fricke said.

About 20 homes in the area of Nobscot Road were without power Thursday night, according to Eversource spokesman Michael Durand.

While there was no estimate on when they might get their power back, Durand called the damage “significant.”

Strong gusts of wind also knocked a large tree limb onto the overhead wire of the MBTA tracks at Newton Centre Thursday afternoon, said Jacque Goddard, spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation.

The Green Line D branch experienced severe delays for about an hour, with shuttle bus service replacing trains between Reservoir and Newton Highlands, until service was resumed, the MBTA said.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency warned about the risk for frostbite and hypothermia in people without proper protection.

Boston officials urged residents to take care of themselves and their neighbors.

“We want to make sure each and every Boston resident will be safe and warm when bitterly cold weather arrives this week,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a statement. “In times like these, it’s vital for residents to look out for one another.”

Anyone who sees homeless people out in the cold should call 911, officials said. Emergency shelters across Boston will be open 24 hours a day.

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Temperatures were expected to gradually climb later Friday, but more weather troubles could be ahead. Forecasters expect snow to arrive late Friday night before changing to rain through the day on Saturday.

The high temperature on Saturday in Boston is expected to reach 40 degrees and, in a case of weather whiplash, the high temperature Sunday is expected to reach 54, before temperatures return to more seasonable levels early next week.


Correspondent Samantha Gross and Jaclyn Reiss of the Globe Staff contributed. Olivia Quintana can be reached at olivia.quintana@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @oliviasquintana. Reenat Sinay can be reached at reenat.sinay@globe.com