Few Clouds 40° Good Afternoon
Few Clouds 40° Good Afternoon
Long Island

Long Island hit by record cold snap with below zero wind chills

A woman braving the arctic air that has

A woman braving the arctic air that has blanked our region with below-freezing temperatures while walking the boardwalk in Long Beach on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

A record cold snap bringing bitter temperatures and stinging winds had Long Islanders bundling up Saturday — especially the unfortunate souls who work outdoors.

Temperatures dipped to 5 degrees late Saturday night at Long Island MacArthur Airport, eclipsing the record low of 9 degrees for the date set last year, the National Weather Service said.

Wind chills were so severe — at times reaching 15 degrees below zero — health officials warned that even brief exposure could lead to frostbite or hypothermia.

Overnight temperatures were expected to sink to zero degrees, but Valentine’s Day celebrants will get some relief from the winter blast, starting around noon.

“This is fairly short-lived so . . . it’ll be another cold day” Sunday, with highs in the mid-teens, “but after that, it retreats pretty quickly,” said Weather Service meteorologist Faye Barthold, based in Upton.

Monday’s late-morning or afternoon snow should switch to rain fairly swiftly, as temperatures rise from the 30s to around 50 degrees by Tuesday, Barthold said.

The Fire Island Ferries suspended service for the weekend due to the severe cold and ice.

Despite wind gusts topping 40 mph, however, reports of power outages and downed tree limbs were minimal Saturday.

For those Long Islanders who ventured out, many either embraced or loathed the face-numbing weather.

In Huntington, several residents — and a few of their pets — chose to brave the elements.

Georgio Testani saluted the polar air’s invigorating effects as he waited to cross Main Street at Clinton Avenue after a coffee delivery.

“I love the cold,” said Testani, 55, owner of Georgio’s Coffee Roasters in Farmingdale. “I roast coffee all day and stand in front of a roaster machine. It’s hot. You feel good when it’s crisp outside. You feel more alive.”

Kevin Postiglione spent half an hour on a roof Saturday morning fixing a heating unit at a Seaford bagel shop before playing with his dog, Enzo, in Coindre Hall Park in Huntington.

In the distance, a dog named Zeus frolicked in the snow.

“He’s a Siberian husky,” said Mary Martin, 58, of Upper Brookville, whose son owns Zeus. “Look at him. He’s in heaven. This is his weather.”

That was not the case for some East End produce growers at the Riverhead Farmers Market. Joyce Podlas of Riverhead, while carrying crates of milk, eggs and meat, termed the cold “awful.”

Saying “It takes your breath away, literally,” Podlas said she was having second thoughts about a six-hour stint at a Brooklyn market on Sunday.

“I’m thinking to myself, ‘Am I really going to do this?’ ”

Rachel Bosworth, who was packing up her East End Mushroom Co. stand, found it all too discouraging, saying the icy weather gave her a “hopeless feeling.”

She might find solace in this week’s milder temperatures.

First, though, the weather service predicted Sunday’s zero would beat the 2015 record of 7 degrees at Islip.

With Will James, David Olson and Candice Ruud

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