Sub-zero wind chills are forecast between Monday night and Tuesday as arctic air from northern Alaska reaches the state.
Monday night lows were forecast between five and 10 degrees, with wind chills between five and nine degrees below zero, according to Gary Lessor, meteorologist with the Weather Center at Western Connecticut State University. Wind chills Tuesday will be near zero for most of the day, Lessor said. On Wednesday, temperatures will jump back up to the mid 30s. It will be less windy on Wednesday, he said.
“Nobody should spend time outside,” Lessor said Monday. “If you do have to go out, I’d limit the time outside.”
Lessor said it would only take 20 to 30 minutes outside to begin experiencing hypothermia in those temperatures. He noted the arctic air is a normal yearly occurrence and the temperatures won’t be record breaking. Lessor said anyone that has to go outside should cover as much exposed skin as possible.
The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement ahead of the frigid temperatures. Gov. Ned Lamont activated the state’s cold weather protocol as of noon on Monday, and it will remain in effect until noon on Wednesday. This is the first time the cold weather protocol has been used this winter season.
The protocol is used to make sure the most vulnerable populations can access protection from the severe cold conditions. Residents can call 2-1-1 for information about local shelters and transportation to shelters.
“While we’ve had relatively mild weather so far this winter, it looks like we are about to receive our first blast of freezing cold air beginning this evening,” Lamont said in a statement Monday. “Being outdoors in these arctic conditions for extended periods is not safe, and we must spread the word that shelters and warming centers are open all across Connecticut. If you or someone you know is in need of shelter, call 2-1-1 and they will direct you to a nearby location and they can also provide transportation if necessary.”
While the protocol is in effect the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection’s division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security uses a communication network. The system is used to watch shelter capacities across the state.