The Seacoast is in for a frigid 50 or so hours, with the coldest air in five years arriving Thursday night and continuing through Saturday.

Temperatures will begin to drop as a cold front pushes through Thursday night, keeping temperatures no higher than the teens on Friday. A Wind Chill Watch is in effect for all of New England starting Friday afternoon for dangerous cold through Saturday afternoon.

"It's a very quick-hitting blast, and then temperatures rebound again on Sunday," meteorologist Stephen Baron at the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine. "This is really kind of a dangerous and rare cold that we don't see."

The timeline of the chill is:

  • THURSDAY NIGHT: Temperatures begin to drop to the teens.
  • FRIDAY: Sunny and windy with high temperatures in the teens. Winds gust up to 40 mph.
  • FRIDAY NIGHT: Clear, with temperatures dropping to -10. Wind chills will be -30 to -40 as winds gusting to 30-35 mph.
  • SATURDAY: Sunny with gusty winds and high temperatures in the single digits.
  • SUNDAY:  Sunny with high temperatures rebounding to the upper 30s.
Minimum Wind Chill Friday Night
Minimum Wind Chill Friday Night (NWS Gray)

What's Causing the Cold?

"It's a combination of a dip in the jet stream, and then a disturbance in the polar vortex circulation. Whenever the circulation is tight, that cold air can spill out and come into our area," Baron said.

It will be the coldest temperature since January 22, 2022, when the temperature got to -10. Temperatures last fell below -10 in January, 2018.

Baron said that this looks like a one-time occurrence, as models from the Climate Prediction Center forecast above normal temperatures through the end of meteorological winter through February.

"I think we're going to end up either near normal or above normal to end the winter. I don't think we're going to see any more of these very cold, below normal maps," Baron said.

Preparing for the Freeze

Dover Fire Chief Michael McShan recommended being aware of the dangers of extreme cold.

“It’s important to be aware of the dangers these cold temperatures can bring, and to take the necessary steps to stay safe,” Chief McShane said in a statement. “Never leave a child or pet unattended in a car in the cold, and if you can, stay inside to avoid the cold and wind chill. If you must go outside, make sure you are dressed appropriately and cover your hands and face.”

He also suggested checking on family and friends during the cold, especially children and the elderly.

“We want to keep our citizens safe and warm during this cold weather,” said Chief McShane. “It’s important to keep in mind home heating safety measures such as never using a stove or oven to heat your home, making sure you have a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector on each floor, and never plugging space heaters into extension cords or power strips.”

Eversource said it will be ready to respond to power lines and branches brought down by the gusty winds.

"We work year-round to maintain and upgrade our electric system to make it more resilient to extreme weather—including installing smart switches that allow our system operators to remotely isolate outages and restore customers in minutes, the company said in a statement.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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