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Wind chill advisory extended until 8 a.m. Wednesday

The frozen South Shore of Long Island near

The frozen South Shore of Long Island near the Robert Moses Causeway (Jan. 7, 2014) Credit: Asia Lee

A wind chill advisory for Nassau County and western Suffolk has been extended to 8 a.m. Wednesday, with wind chill of minus 8 to minus 15 degrees expected, the National Weather Service said.

That's as bone-chilling cold Tuesday delayed trains, caused water main breaks and disrupted school days as the temperature plummeted 48 degrees in 24 hours on Long Island.

The temperature at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip Town went from 55 degrees in the 8 o'clock hour Monday to 7 degrees at the same time Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. Tuesday's low of 7 degrees broke the previous Jan. 7 record of 13 set in 1988.

As of shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Ronkonkoma airport was registering 9 degrees, with wind chill of minus 7. The day's high -- 26 degrees -- was reached at 12:08 a.m., said Joe Pollina, a weather service meteorologist in Upton.

As an arctic blast of teeth-chattering air drove Long Island into a deep freeze, the Upton-based service earlier warned that west winds up to 30 mph accompanied by gusts of 45 mph and black ice forming from residual moisture could create "difficult driving conditions."

The high winds started late Monday, driving temperatures down to subzero territory and had forecasters warning against venturing out in the cold.

The frigid weather comes courtesy of what experts are calling a polar vortex -- a massive low-pressure system that came to life days ago in far-off Siberia, swooped down across Canada and picked up steam over the Great Lakes before leveling an expected direct hit on the Northeast.

For Long Island and the rest of the metropolitan area, the frozen conditions brought commuter and school delays, water main breaks as well as the opening of warming centers.

The LIRR had experienced 10-minute systemwide delays in and out of Penn Station during Tuesday's morning commute because of "cold weather conditions," the railroad said.

As of around 2 p.m., the Suffolk County Water Authority was reporting four water main breaks related to the temperature drop in Farmingville, Bay Shore, Lindenhurst and East Islip. "Intense cold is the worst thing for the pipes," said Tim Motz, a spokesman.

For residents in need of shelter from the cold, warming centers have been opened for 24 hours at the Babylon Town Hall Annex, and through 4:30 p.m. at the Senior Center on Shade Tree Lane, Aquebogue.

Although schoolchildren hoping for a rare "freeze day" were out of luck, several districts across Long Island reported delayed openings.

With Tara Conry, Zachary R. Dowdy, John Hildebrand, Chau Lam and Darran Simon

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