By Matt Peterson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  A bitter blast of arctic air is set to hammer the region as a winter storm passes by the south. We were originally worried about a chance for some wintry weather Thursday across parts of the area but those chances have since dried up as the low will skirt by to the south, thanks to a strong area of high pressure.

That strong high will have arctic origins, though, and we need to be ready for some bitterly cold air to take over the region, with winds picking up, but really we will feel the truly frigid temperatures on Friday and through at least part of the weekend, too.

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Wind chills on Thursday morning will be in the teens and single digits across most of the region.

As the low passes by the south on Thursday afternoon, we will stay dry but clouds will obscure the sunshine, at least partially. Winds will really start to gust pretty strong Thursday afternoon.

Highs will be in the mid-30s, but when you add in the wind gusts that could be upwards of 35 mph, it will feel like the teens or hopefully the low 20s throughout the day.

Temperatures then continue to plummet heading into Friday morning. We will wake up Friday to lows in the teens and wind chills that are in the single digits both above and below zero in many areas.

Friday afternoon offers little relief even if we have mostly sunny skies. Highs to end the week will only be in the upper 20s! The wind chill throughout the day Friday will likely stay in the teens or even in the single digits in places.

Some safety tips when temperatures get this cold is to remember to limit your time outdoors. That is the easiest thing to do right now. Always remember to cover up extremities as well. Your nose, tips of the fingers and even arms and legs tend to cool much faster than the torso.

In wind chills like we will have across the region over the next few mornings, frostbite is a possibility and it could develop in about 30 minutes if the wind chill drops below zero for a prolonged period of time.

The next couple of days will be some of the coldest temperatures not only seen just this season, but in almost a year in Philly. So far during the winter season, Philly’s lowest temperature has been 21 degrees. With forecast lows of 18 and 17 Friday and Saturday morning, respectively, we are likely to beat that coldest temperature so far this year.

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It’s been quite a while since we had lows that have dropped down into the teens like this in the city as well. The last time we had a low of 18 degrees or lower in Philly was 346 days on Feb. 15, 2020. That currently holds the ninth-longest streak of temperatures at or above 18 in Philly.

The 2019-2020 winter season was also one where we had to wait quite some time for the really frigid air to settle in. During the 2019-2020 season, we had a 377-day streak, good for the fourth-longest all time, where temperatures remained at or above 18.

While these temperatures are cold and some of the coldest we will likely experience all winter long, they are well above the single digits and below-zero temperatures we would need to hit for record lows.

As for the next chance for snow, there is a system on the horizon we are watching. It is just starting to come on-shore on the West Coast and will take the next couple of days to work across the U.S.

As it does, more details will become available. Right now, we will call for a chance for snow showers later in the day on Sunday and then again on Sunday night. The spotty chances for snow showers should then persist into next week, with flakes possibly flying Monday and Tuesday before clearing out by Wednesday.

Stay tuned for updates on the next possible snowmaker in the region.


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