What, you expected the weather to be tropical for Thanksgiving? That would be hard to believe.

However, the National Weather Service on Wednesday was calling for snow squalls and air so frigid, the numbers are also a little hard to believe.

Temperatures are expected to drop into the single digits overnight, the weather service says, with temps as low as 4 degrees in Lewiston and the surrounding area. Worse, weather forecasters say, persistent winds will make it feel even colder than that.

“Very cold wind chills expected,” according to one National Weather Service advisory. “The cold wind chills will cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes to exposed skin. Expect wind chills to range from 10 below zero to 25 below zero.”

That’s not just cold, weather experts say, it’s dangerous. They were advising people to wear clothes in layers, keep hats on their heads and to use mittens, snug at the wrists, instead of gloves.

Or, you know, just stay indoors.

It’s too soon to say, but the Thanksgiving Day cold seems likely to set records. The coldest low recorded on the holiday in the Portland area, for instance, is 7 degrees, and that happened way back in 1978.

Those who need to travel to get to the Thanksgiving dinner table won’t want to be outside for long.

“Eat lots of turkey,” advised C.J. Tolini, of Lewiston. “Go back to bed.”

Shoppers eager to stand outside stores in advance of Black Friday deals won’t do it comfortably: The weather service says temperatures may climb up into the teens Thursday afternoon, but the wind will persist and the accompanying chill will make it feel close to zero.

The forecast for the holiday was ominous, certainly, but it wasn’t a surprise for everyone. Back in August, when skies were sunny and temperatures generally settled in the low 80s, the Farmers’ Almanac announced its forecast for the coming winter. “Teeth-chattering cold” was on the way, the almanac warned, along with early snow and lots of it.

So far, the almanac forecast is right on the money — in addition to the “teeth-chattering” stuff presently on the way, some parts of Maine have already seen two storms with more than 6 inches of snow, which hasn’t happened this early in the season since the late 1800s.

Not that the Farmers’ Almanac people were boasting about it.

“I’ll save my official bragging for the end of winter,” said publisher Peter Geiger, “but I am very pleased with how things have started.”


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