Above: A chilly early-morning scene in the Schoharie County town of Esperance, taken Sunday morning by Flickr user A Man Called ACME. It's about to get chillier, as a front of Arctic air sends temperatures plunging across the Northeast. Photo shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool.
Forget "Hercules": This week's bitter cold spell, setting in Monday and continuing until Wednesday, is set to eclipse last week's brief bout of subzero temperatures. A frigid front of Arctic air dubbed the "polar vortex" already has the Midwest in its icy grip, and by nightfall, will send temperatures plunging in the Northeast as well.
Local forecasters at the National Weather Service in Binghamton are predicting that temperatures Monday night and Tuesday could be the coldest in a decade or more. In a detailed briefing issued Monday morning, NWS forecasters warned that Tuesday would be the coldest day of the cold snap, with temperatures down to 10 below zero or lower and wind chills of up to 30 to 35 below zero in their forecast area, which extends to the western Catskills.
To the east, the National Weather Service's Albany station warned that the Hudson Valley and eastern Catskills -- which warmed up to the 40s and 50s on Monday -- would drop back below freezing on Monday afternoon.
By midnight Monday, the entire Catskills region will be under either a wind chill advisory (Schoharie County) or a more serious wind chill warning (Delaware and Sullivan counties, Greene County and Ulster County).
With temperatures this low, power outages could be dangerous for those without backup generators or other heat sources. During last week's subzero cold snap, problems with a NYSEG substation transformer left over 4,000 homes in Delaware County without power for a few hours -- long enough to freeze pipes, for some. A spokesman for the utility said NYSEG workers are ready to respond quickly if another power outage occurs.
Generator safety is especially vital in cold weather. In November of 2012, two elderly Shokan residents died in their home after a power outage, when their gasoline-powered generator filled their house with carbon monoxide.
We're tracking the local impacts of the cold front in real time on Storify. Let us know of any road accidents, power outages or other issues in your neighborhood at [email protected], and we'll post them to the liveblog below. (We'll gladly share your gorgeous ice pictures, too.) The latest updates appear at the top of the liveblog.