Frigid conditions expected Tuesday

Today could feel like one of the coldest days in decades.

High temperatures for New England on Tuesday, Jan. 7, according to the National Weather Service. (Click on image to view a larger version.)

High temperatures for New England on Tuesday, Jan. 7, according to the National Weather Service. (Click on image to view a larger version.)

A wind chill advisory remains in effect for Fairfield and the rest of southwestern Connecticut through 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7. The wind chill could make it feel 15 below zero on Tuesday — after yesterday’s high of 55. Winds are expected to be 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.

The temperature in Fairfield was 8 degrees early Tuesday morning; the high is not expected to surpass 11 in the area Tuesday.

“Prolonged exposure to the bitter cold and wind could lead to frostbite and hypothermia,” according to the National Weather Service.

Along with the wind child advisory Tuesday is a wind advisory. The high winds of 20 to 30 mph are expected to diminish by the afternoon. The high winds could impact driving conditions, according to the weather service. At 6:30 a.m., winds were blowing at 7 mph but a gust of 30 mph was recorded this morning.

The rapidly falling temperatures over the past 24 hours — drops of one to four degrees and hour since 8 a.m. Monday — have caused moisture on roadways and sidewalks to freeze and create black ice. “This will mainly be an issue on secondary roads,” according to the weather service.

Schools in Fairfield are open on a regular schedule. Bridgeport schools opened 90 minutes late, the only area school district to do so.

New Canaan schools sent a letter home with parents advising students to dress for the frigid conditions.

“It’s not always easy to decide what to wear to school, especially on days when the temperature can drop as much as 50 degrees,” the letter, titled “It’s Not Cool to be Cold” reads. “When the temperature will be well below freezing, we offer this fashion advice: more is better than less.”

“Forecasts for the next few days are for single digit temperatures and wind chill factors in the negative numbers. We would like to remind parents and students to dress accordingly, whether waiting at the bus stop or walking from the parking lot into school, frostbite is a real concern during extreme weather conditions.

“Parents may wonder if younger students will continue to play outdoors for recess during these very cold days.” New Canaan Public Schools Nursing Supervisor Sue Cesareo, R.N., offered the following information regarding students and recess during times of extreme temperatures:

“‘I think it is always a bit unsettling to hear the short length of time required for the development of frostbite under certain weather conditions. I know this is also an issue for recess. All assistant principals and nurses have a chart that addresses all weather conditions (including wind chill and humidity) and indicates the safe, cautionary and unsafe temperatures for outside play. I recommended that this chart, developed by the Iowa Department Of Health be used to make district wide decisions about safety and outside play about 6-7 years ago. I know the nurses refer to it frequently.’”

According to that chart, and temperatures (real or wind chill) at 10 degrees or less are considered dangerous for children. Here is the Iowa Child Care Weather Watch chart.

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