Arctic blast chills region; 4 school districts delayed Wednesday

Get ready for The Big Chill, Part 2.

We’re not talking about the movie, but the second major cold front that’s infiltrating the region — and much of the Northeast.

On Tuesday morning, light snow on cold highways prompted PennDOT to lower the speed limit to 45 mph on Interstate 80 westbound between Exit 212A in Turbot Township, Northumberland County, to Exit 161 near Bellefonte. That posting was lifted by 3 p.m.

But Centre County residents weren’t worried about falling snow, but falling temperatures, toward the end of the day. It is the second strand of below-zero weather this winter. Earlier in January, temperatures plummeted far below zero, with wind chills as low as minus 35 degrees.

Deteriorating weather conditions canceled after-school activities at Bellefonte and State College public schools Tuesday afternoon and evening. Bellefonte Area, Bald Eagle Area, State College Area and Philipsburg-Osceola Area school districts instituted two-hour delays for Wednesday.

State College borough declared a snow emergency. All vehicles must be removed from the streets until they have been cleared of accumulated snow. The Fraser and Pugh street parking garages are open until 8:30 a.m. for those needing to park off the streets. Sidewalks must be cleared within 24 hours after the snow has stopped.

The National Weather Service in State College issued a wind chill advisory from midnight Tuesday to noon Wednesday. Dangerously cold wind chills are expected to plummet as low as minus 15 degrees. Winds are expected up to 15 mph with gusts to 25 mph.

In 1994, State College saw a historic 18 degrees below zero, according to the NWS. In only a few years since 1994 did the area see temperatures below zero, and none lower than minus 5.

Temperatures were expected to dip to zero overnight Tuesday and only reach a high of 10 degrees Wednesday. The continued cold will last into Thursday, with a high of 16 and a low of negative 1, and into Friday, when the high is expected to reach only 14 degrees and the low will be 12, according to AccuWeather.

Saturday could see a bit more snow and a high of 28, but temperatures Sunday and through the early part of next week aren’t expected to reach 20 degrees, according to AccuWeather.