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A Shit-Kicking Arctic Blast Is Coming This Weekend. Here's What You Need to Know.

Published On 12/14/2016 Published On 12/14/2016

Just when you thought the winter couldn't get any milder, the dreaded Polar Vortex has reared its frozen head once more -- except this time it's being called an "Arctic Blast," and true to form, it's blasting the shit out of the Northern United States this week.

The hellish winter surge has already wreaked havoc in the Northwest, and is expected to bring single-digit temperatures to major Midwestern cities like Chicago and Cleveland by Wednesday night -- add in the wind chill, and we're looking at extreme sub-zero conditions. Philly and Pennsylvania are also expected to be hit with temps in the teens, around 15 degrees below average for this time of year. Boston's in for negative double-digit lows courtesy of the intense wind that'll accompany the already frigid air.

Basically, if 2016 is hell, it's about to freeze over.

So just how bad is it gonna be? Well, that depends on what city you're in:

Boston, MA

  • Thursday's temps will reach a high of 25 degrees and a low of 5 degrees -- with windchill it might be more like -15. 50% chance of snow at night.
  • Friday's temps will reach a high of 16 degrees and a low of 10 -- with windchill, it could drop to -25. 80% chance of snow during the day, 60% at night.
  • Saturday will be milder, with highs and lows in the low 40s. 80% chance of a snow/rain mix during the day, 60% at night
  • Sunday will see highs in the upper 40s and lows of around 20 degrees, with a 70% chance of rain during the day.
  • If you've got a car, study these wintertime parking tips for Boston.

Cleveland, OH

  • Thursday's temps will hold fairly steady at around 16 degrees during the day, dipping to around 7 degrees at night, although the wind chill will cool things down to nearly -7. Periodic snow showers throughout the day.
  • Friday's temps will remain steady around 20 degrees throughout the day, with the chance of snow increasing to 90% overnight.
  • Saturday will be warmer, with highs in the lower 40s and lows in the 20s. 90% chance of freezing rain in the morning, 80% chance of rain/snow after midnight.
  • Sunday will be colder, with a high of 27 but lows in the teens. 50% chance of snow during the day.
  • If the city issues a snow ban due to excess accumulation, on-street parking will be prohibited for the duration. 

Chicago, IL

  • Thursday's temps will reach a high of around 9 degrees, with wind chill readings down to 25 degrees below. Lows of around 2 degrees at night, with a wind chill of -10.
  • Friday will see a 60% chance of snow during the day, with highs in the low 20s and nighttime lows around 20 degrees 80% chance of rain/snow at night.
  • Saturday will see a 60% chance of snow during the day, with highs in the upper 20s and single-digit lows around 6 degrees.
  • Sunday's temps will range from a high of 9 degrees to a low of 2 at night.
  • Be aware of Chicago's 2" snow accumulation parking ban which, though infrequently enforced, could score you a pricey ticket.

Philadelphia, PA

  • Thursday temps will hold in the 20s during the day, with lows of around 13 degrees at night, and wind gusts up to 35mph.
  • Friday's high temps will remain in the mid 20s during the day, and though there's a 60% chance of snow, the temperature should hold steady into the night as well.
  • Saturday will be warmer, with temperatures holding steady in the 40s throughout the day and night. 80% chance of snow and rain during the day, 50% chance of rain at night.
  • Sunday's temps will rise to the mid 50s during the day, with a 70% chance of rain. Slight chance of rain at night, with lows down to the 20s.
  • Claiming a parking spot during a snowstorm might be useful, but it's not technically legal in Philly

Pittsburgh, PA

  • Thursday will see highs in the mid 20s during the day, with lows of about 13 degrees at night, and wind gusts up to 40mph.
  • Friday's temps will reach a high of around 25 and a low of 24, with a 60% chance of light snow accumulation after midnight.
  • Saturday will be warmer, with highs in the mid 40s and lows in the mid 30s. 80% chance of rain/snow during the day, 50% chance of rain at night.
  • Sunday will see cooler temps, ranging from a high of 34 to lows in the mid-teens. 60% chance of rain/snow in the morning.

Washington, DC

  • Thursday will see highs in the upper 20s, and lows of around 15 degrees.
  • Friday's temps will remain in the upper 20s during the day, with lows in the mid 20s at night and a 60% chance of freezing rain.
  • Saturday's temps will go up to a high of around 50, with lows in the lower 40s at night. 90% chance of freezing rain during the day, 60% chance at night.
  • Sunday will be more of the same during the day, with highs in the 50s and a 90% chance of rain. Lows in the mid 20s at night, with a 40% chance of rain.


Weather reports aside, here are a few general tips for dealing with the inclement weather that's about to kick us all in the teeth:

Snow shoveling tips

  • Most people's first instinct when faced with snow isn't to head out and start hacking at it with a shovel, but if you don't at least attempt to curb the snowy advance as it happens, it'll be twice as hard to get rid of the stuff once a pile's accumulated.
  • Remember not to shovel your snow out into the street -- not only will you be making it worse for everyone else, it could result you getting a nasty fine.
  • If you don't have some already, go out and buy a crap-ton of salt. Spread it judiciously behind you after you clear a section of snow.
  • Remember to take breaks. Shoveling snow can be exhausting, and while the temptation is to get it all knocked out at once, you're more likely to end up hurting yourself -- especially when it's this cold outside.
  • If you've got one, put your hoverboard to work while shoveling. It'll either make the whole ordeal a breeze, or result in you shattering your spine on the pavement.

Winter driving tips

  • You've heard it before, but it bears repeating: watch out for black ice. If you start skidding, wait until your car's in a straight line before hitting the brakes.
  • Realize that you have much less traction on snow and ice than you normally do, and slow everything down accordingly.
  • In lieu of a garage, bypass the stress of cleaning your car by wrapping the thing in a tarp. Once the snow's stopped falling, you can peel the damn thing off without dealing with a de-icing situation. Not technically a driving tip, but useful all the same.

Gianni Jaccoma is an editor for Thrillist. He was born in the middle of a snowbank, and died shortly thereafter. Follow his drifting spectral form on Twitter @gjaccoma

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