While it's not expected to see subzero temperatures, New York City won't escape the chill with a bitter forecast for 2 degrees on Saturday.
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"For people stepping outside on Sunday morning, it's going to be like walking into a freezer," said Weather Channel Lead Forecaster Michael Palmer. "This will be the coldest air for more than a decade for much of the Northeast."
Wind chills are expected to plummet 20 to 40 degrees below zero across the region, with the National Weather Service issuing a patchwork of wind-chill warnings and watches. It said conditions "will result in frostbite and lead to hypothermia or death if precautions are not taken."
The forecast cold air is the product of a weather system called the polar vortex, a large cyclone that sits above the North Pole all year round. The bitter temperatures expected across the Northeast are being brought by a "piece" of this vortex that has broken off and traveled further south, Palmer said.
Before hitting the Northeast, temperatures will drop across the Midwest on Friday — with forecast lows of -7 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and -2 in Chicago. The icy blast will move through the Great Lakes on Friday night and into the Northeast on Saturday.