Winds are howling and temperatures are falling like a rock this morning as an arctic cold front pushes into Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, bringing the coldest air yet in what already is one of the most brutal winters in recent years.
The front will throw the mercury into the deep freeze over the next 48 hours, pushing the morning low to minus 13 by Tuesday with wind chills ranging from minus 10 to minus 35 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington.
The blustery, polar air will stick around through Wednesday morning.
Watch for gusting winds this morning. A wind advisory up early today was dropped at 5:30 a.m.
Winds whipped up to 49 mph just after midnight at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, the weather service reports. More than 2,000 people were without power in Clermont County, and nearly 300 more were out in Hamilton County earlier today, according to Duke Energy’s website. Those outages have mostly been restored.
It was 15 degrees with a wind chill of minus 3 at the airport at 6 a.m.. It’s 10 degrees with a wind chill of minus 4. We should slip to 5 degrees by lunchtime.
A winter weather advisory runs until noon for most of the region due to the likelihood for blowing and drifting snow, along with a strong chance that a flash freeze could lead to black ice forming on roads.
Some school districts have closed today, including Cincinnati Public, which has about 6,000 students who walk to schools.
“We are really concerned about the falling temperatures,” said Janet Walsh, district spokeswoman. “When we made the call, it was int the 20s but dropping rapidly and predicted to drop more throughout the day with some pretty serious wind chills. So we we decided to really take those into account. We have to be concerned about not only getting kids to school but getting them home.”
With the forecast predicting even colder temperatures Tuesday, she said is it likely school could be canceled a second day in a row.
“It is not looking good for tomorrow,” she said. “We have not officially made the call yet. If we do have to close school, then we are in a situation of makeups. Today is our fifth and final calamity day. So we would be looking at making up a day at the end of the school year if, in fact, we have to close tomorrow.”
Light snow flurries could blow around this morning, accumulating to about half an inch.
A wind chill warning will go into effect noon through 10 a.m Wednesday for Bulter, Warren and Hamilton counties in Ohio and Ripley and Dearborn counties in Indiana as winds gust up to 39 mph and wind chills fall to negative 25 to negative 35.
In Northern Kentucky, Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Grant and Pendleton counties will be under wind chill advisory from noon Monday to 10 a.m. Wednesday. Wind chills there are expected to hit 20 below zero Monday night and Tuesday morning.
By 5 p.m. tonight, the temperature will be at 4 degrees – and then it will plunge overnight anywhere from minus 9 to minus 13 by daybreak Tuesday.
Wind chills will fall as low as minus 35, making this the coldest night so far this winter, according to the weather service.
As cold as that seems, it will not break any cold weather records today or Tuesday, the weather service predicts.
Those records likely will remain intact with minus 11 recorded on this date in 2003, and minus 18 recorded as the low on Tuesday in 1963.
The coldest temperature on record in Cincinnati was 25 below zero in 1977.
Tuesday will dawn sunny but brutally cold. The high temperature could squeak up to 7 degrees. Wind chills will feel as low as minus 20.
We’ll stay in the deep freeze Tuesday night as the low falls to minus 7 with wind chills as low as minus 18.
By Wednesday afternoon, the mercury will begin to rebound with a daytime high near 21 degrees. It will be mostly sunny.
The overnight low will fall to the lower teens.
Thursday will bring a welcome return to the mid-30s and more seasonal temperatures for this time of year. Daytime highs will remain in the 30s with overnight lows in the 20s the rest of the week.
Our next chance of snow will come this weekend. Snow is in the forecast Friday through Saturday and Sunday, when it could mix with a bit of rain.
Brenna R. Kelly contributed