Cold blast expected to linger for days

More bitter cold weather is on the way to the Altoona area, but it is not expected to get as cold as the first week of January.

“A couple of weeks ago, we bottomed out at minus 8 [Jan. 7] and had a high of 4. This cold blast will be longer by comparison. We are trading extremity for longevity in terms of cold temperatures,” AccuWeather meteorologist Evan Duffey said .

“This will be different because it will stick around for a few days,” National Weather Service meteorologist John LaCorte said.

“Lows will be in the single digits through the end of this week. We may get a break this weekend, but you may not feel it. Over the weekend will be a slight moderation, but there will be another very cold air mass next week. This will be more persistent than the last one.”

Today’s high in the Altoona area is expected to be about 14 with a low tonight of 2 below zero. Daily highs through Friday are expected to be in the teens.

The average high for this time of year in Altoona is 34 degrees with the average low in the 20s, Duffey said.

“We will be about 20 degrees below normal Tuesday and [today],” Duffey said.

Before the bitter cold arrives, 2 to 4 inches of fluffy, powdery snow is expected today, lasting into the mid to late afternoon, Duffey said.

A winter storm warning has been issued for Bedford County until 10 tonight with about 6 inches of snow possible, Duffey said.

No additional heavy snows are expected during the bitter cold stretch, but some snow is possible Thursday night into Friday.

“On Saturday and Sunday, there will be a storm north of us across Canada and upstate New York,” Duffey said. “We need to keep an eye on that.”

Temperatures are expected to rise into the 20s this weekend but will turn colder again next week.

“The weekend will be moderate but will be below normal,” Duffey said.

“We have been spoiled by moderate winters,” La Corte said. “This is more like an old-fashioned winter.”

Meanwhile, local auto repair experts said it is a good idea to warm up your vehicle before starting out on bitter cold mornings.

“When it gets bitterly cold some of the fluids, such as oil, antifreeze, steering fluids and transmission fluids, can gel up and will not be at the type of consistency they should be,” said Bill Riggleman, manager of Blair Street Service Center, Hollidaysburg. “This will help the vehicle operate more efficiently.”

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.