Polar vortex, ‘dangerously cold’ wind chills cause some Centre County schools to cancel

With a polar vortex expected to bring wind chills of minus 25 Wednesday — as well as some snow — several Centre County school districts on Tuesday evening canceled class.

Bellefonte, Philipsburg-Osceola and Bald Eagle area school districts will all be closed on Wednesday.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy and the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology are also closed, with St. Joe’s students having a virtual day of classes.

The State College and Penns Valley area school districts went on as usual Wednesday, but SCASD did cancel all after-school activities and school for Thursday.

The National Weather Service in State College issued a wind chill advisory for 5 a.m. Wednesday to noon Thursday for southern Centre County, including State College. The advisory cautions of “dangerously cold wind chill” that could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.

According to the NWS, the wind chills will vary across Centre County on Wednesday morning. While the wind chills will be 0 to -5 in State College and Bellefonte at 7 a.m., Snow Shoe and Philipsburg can expect -10 to -15.

By dismissal time, however, wind chills in all areas of the county are expected to be much lower, -12 to -25.

With a high of 8 and a low of minus 7 degrees, people are encouraged to limit time outside, dress in layers, cover exposed skin and wear a hat and gloves.

AccuWeather is also predicting a coating to an inch of snow to fall Wednesday afternoon.

Students may want to get comfortable at home, as the cold weather is expected to continue into Friday.

A second Arctic front, possibly accompanied by snow squalls, is expected to roll through Centre County Wednesday, bringing more cold air for the rest of the week, according to NWS. Highs of 9 and lows of minus 2 are expected Thursday, with wind chills as low as minus 20. Temperatures could get up to as high as 19 on Friday, then start to warm up back to average temperatures over the weekend.

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