fb-pixelThe Boston area could feel as cold as minus-15 degrees overnight - The Boston Globe Skip to main content

The Boston area could feel as cold as minus-15 degrees overnight

A cold snap like this has hit Boston only once before — a century ago. Video by Scott LaPierre and Taylor de Lench
A cold snap like this has hit Boston only once before — a century ago. Video by Scott LaPierre and Taylor de Lench

Forecasters are warning of the dangers of frostbite and hypothermia as wind chills continue to make temperatures in the Boston area feel below zero Thursday morning.

As of 5 a.m., the lowest temperature recorded at Logan International Airport was 7 degrees, but that temperature was expected to continue dropping before the sun rises after 7 a.m., according to Matthew Belk, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

Overnight, wind chills in the Boston area made temperatures feel as low as minus-6 degrees. West of the city, wind chill made temperatures feel close to minus-10 degrees, Belk said.

Temperatures in Boston on Wednesday did not rise higher than 20 degrees.


A wind chill advisory from the weather service took effect at 7 p.m. and will continue until noon Thursday, covering northern Connecticut and most of Massachusetts.

A wind chill warning for the same time period covers western portions of Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties. During that period, wind chills in the area are expected to range from -5 down to -25.

“The dangerously cold wind chills will cause frostbite in as little as 10 minutes to exposed skin,” the weather service cautioned, adding that longer exposure could lead to hypothermia and even death.

And there’s no relief in sight.

The seven-day forecast shows no highs in Boston above 20 degrees, and lows in the single digits or down to zero. The weather service cautions that overnight Saturday and overnight Sunday, wind chills could be as low as -15 degrees to -20 degrees.

There is a possibility of a coastal storm this weekend, but the latest weather trends indicate that it might remain offshore and leave Massachusetts untouched.

To stay warm when going outside, the weather service recommends wearing a hat, several layers of lightweight, loose-fitting warm clothing, and a scarf or other mouth cover to prevent extremely cold air from entering the lungs. For hands, the service says, mittens that are snug at the wrist are better at keeping in warmth than gloves.


The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency cautioned that the expected wind chills are “potentially life-threatening” and warned that the cold could also lead to an “increase in fires from unsafe/improper use of alternative heating sources or people trying to thaw frozen pipes with blowtorches.”

MEMA said the cold could also cause burst plumbing, vehicle failure, and an increase in cases of carbon monoxide poisoning from the use of alternative heating sources. The State Emergency Operations Center is monitoring the weather situation, MEMA said in a statement.

Residents can sign up for emergency alerts from MEMA by visiting www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp, and a list of MEMA safety tips is posted online here.

During the extreme cold weather, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has asked that residents check on neighbors who are disabled or elderly, watch for homeless people who might need help, and be careful using space heaters, which can cause fires.

Walsh encouraged city residents to sign up for Alert Boston to get notifications about weather issues and other emergencies. To get information from the city about cold weather precautions and warming centers, visit www.boston.gov/cold or call the city’s resident services hotline by dialing 311.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.