Weather Watch: Dangerous wind chill, with potential for major storm brewing

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Tracking next week’s storm: Which way will it go? Graphic/Accuweather

MANCHESTER, NH – Baby, it’s cold outside.

The National Weather Service out of Gray, Maine, has issued a Wind Chill Advisory, which remains in effect until noon on Dec. 31, as a reinforcing shot of cold air pours into northern New England overnight, making for a frigid New Year’s Eve – and well into 2018.

Temperatures will fall below zero once again and will combine with the wind to produce wind chill readings of 20 to 40 below zero.

This is just the beginning of a New Year cold snap, as fresh Arctic air will overspread the entire area on Sunday, and may produce colder wind chill values region wide for New Years Eve. This cold is expected to last for several days.

The cold wind chills will cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes to exposed skin. Expect wind chills to range from 15 below zero to 29 below zero. The Advisory is active for portions of central, northern and southern New Hampshire and, south central and southwest Maine. If you must go outdoors, dress in layers, cover exposed skin, and make sure at least one person knows your whereabouts.

If you’re a homeowner or landlord, be mindful of your water pipes. Keeping your home or apartment warm will be a challenge, but always use caution with space heaters. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that half of all home-heating fires occur during the winter months. On average, heating equipment is involved in more than 60,000 reported U.S. home structure fires per year and New Hampshire is no exception.

“While these numbers are frightening, nearly all of these fires are preventable,” said J. William Degnan, New Hampshire State Fire Marshal. “We can reduce the number of home heating fires in our state by taking some simple precautions and using heating equipment properly.”

The NH Division of Fire Safety recommends some simple home heating safety tips:

Portable Heaters

  • Only use portable heaters from a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Make sure the heater has an automatic shut-off so if it tips over, it shuts off.
  • Keep anything combustible at least three feet away from the heater.
  • Plug portable heaters directly into outlets. Never plug a portable heater into an extension cord or power strip.
  • Turn heaters off when going to bed or leaving the room.


  1. Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out.
  2. Do not burn paper in the fireplace.
  3. Put the fire out before going to sleep or leaving the home.
  4. Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them in a metal container with a lid, outside, at least ten feet from the home.

Wood & Pellet Stoves

  1. Have a qualified professional install, (inspect each year) stove, chimney connectors, and chimneys.
  2. Make sure the stove is three feet away from anything combustible.
  3. In wood stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood. In pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets.

Storm front on the move

According to Accuweather, the arctic air could set the stage for a major snow storm by week’s end. Although it’s too soon to know which way the storm front will track, one possible scenario shows a rapidly strengthening storm featuring strong winds and heavy seas along much of the Atlantic coast.

“How close to the coast the storm tracks will determine how far west and how much snow falls,” according to AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Max Vido.

Looking ahead at the 10-day forecast, our next two potential snow days are Jan. 4 and Jan. 8.

About this Author


Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!