Record breaking cold weather hits Philadelphia

A pedestrian battles the subzero temperatures and high winds in on the South Street Bridge on Tuesday. Credit: Charles Mostoller/METRO
A pedestrian battles the subzero temperatures and high winds in on the South Street Bridge on Tuesday. Credit: Charles Mostoller/METRO

Philadelphia and several other local communities today have seen record cold temperatures — some breaking records dating back to 1912.

But don’t call the cold front a “polar vortex” — that’s a little dramatic.

“I would call it more of a cold snap,” said Jim Bunker, observing program leader for the National Weather Service in Mount Holly. “It’s not anything out of the ordinary; it’s just unusual. There’s an Arctic high that set up and it’s brought down a pretty good dose of arctic air.”

There were several locations that did break records for Jan. 7 — mostly from 1988 but some dating back even farther. The low this morning in Philadelphia was 4 degrees, beating a record set on this date in 1988 of 7 degrees.

Wilmington also saw 4 degree temperatures they haven’t seen since a cold front in 1988 and one in 1942 where temperatures had gotten to 10 degrees.

Temperatures were even lower in Trenton, New Jersey. It got to a morning low there of 2 degrees, beating a record set in 1912 of 6.

Mount Pocono didn’t even get out of the negatives this morning. The low there earlier today was -8. The previous record was in 1988 when it was -5.

Fortunately, you don’t have to get too used to the subzero weather. It will still be this cold overnight with temperatures around 5, but feeling like -9. Then, “temperatures are going to start moderating out,” said Bunker.

“By Friday,” he said, “we should be getting up in the upper 40s or around 50. Saturday, there’s going to be some rain with temperatures around 50. We’re going to start getting back up there for temperatures.”


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