Schools cancel classes Thursday due to extreme cold

Snow futurecast Friday, Jan. 9_112054

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — While temperatures in Southern New England have been very cold this week, the worst has finally arrived.

An arctic front that’s moving across the central and eastern part of the country impacted our region late Wednesday, and the weather has gone from “uncomfortably cold” to “dangerously cold.”

A High Wind Watch has been issued for southern Bristol County Mass. from late tonight to Friday afternoon.  Southwest winds could gusts to 55mph leading to isolated power outages and wind damage.  Wind gusts across RI and interior SE MA should be between 35-50mph.

As of 4:30 a.m., public schools in Providence, Fall River, and New Bedford have canceled classes for Thursday in response to the extreme cold. Click here for an updated list of school and business closings and delays.

Providence Public Schools said they decided to close school on Thursday because the weather is too cold and dangerous for children to go to school.

“The last thing we’d want to see is a child get hypothermia because he or she was standing at the bus stop for 15 minutes in really frigid temperatures,” said Spokeswoman Christina O’Reilly.

The decision was made in conjunction with the mayor’s office.

“We have about 10,000 elementary and middle students who stand and wait for the bus on a street corner every morning. So that’s an enormous consideration. Another couple thousand take the RIPTA buses and wait on those corners. And then of course we have countless others who walk to school,” said O’Reilly.

Exposed skin can freeze within 30 minutes in those conditions, so it’s critical to bundle up if you must venture outside. Also, if it’s too cold for humans, that means it’s also too cold for animals – so animal control officers warn not to leave pets outside in sub-zero temperatures.

The air won’t just be cold, it will also be moving fast, with gusts up to 30-40 miles per hour expected.

To help residents cope with the dangerously cold temperatures, a number of communities are offering warming centers.

If the pipes in your house are close to outside walls or not well insulated, they run the risk of freezing in these extreme temperatures. Click here for tips from Providence’s Water Supply Board to prevent this from happening in your home.

Wind chill values are expected to rise back above zero Thursday afternoon when the winds start to die down and temperatures rise back into the teens.

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