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An arctic blast has sent the majority of the U.S. Northeast and Midwest into a deep freeze, setting record lows in several spots on Thursday. Forecasters have warned the frigid temperatures could last through the New Year holiday. The National Weather Service is also reporting that a cold front bearing down on the Pacific Northwest is also expected to dump as much as 3 feet of snow starting Friday morning in parts of Washington state and the northern Rocky Mountains. Wochit

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York County likely will be spared the snow much of the northeastern United States will receive from a major nor'easter moving in, but the area will still get hit with wind, causing "brutal cold."

Paul Head, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the storm could bring more than a foot of snow to Boston but will miss York County. 

“It’s going to be well east of York," he said.

Rob Miller, a senior meteorologist for AccuWeather, agreed. He said if York County gets hit at all, it will likely be a coating.

More: Snow likely overnight in York County

"We might see a little bit of snow later tonight into tomorrow," he said Wednesday, Jan. 3.

Head said with the wind, the area will feel like it is below zero Friday.

The weekend: Friday through Sunday will see a return of cold air moving in, with temperatures from zero to the mid-teens, and a minus-10-degree wind chill, according to the National Weather Service.

"Both Friday and Saturday look to be very cold, very harsh," said Bob Larson, a meteorologist for AccuWeather.

It's more than 20 degrees colder than average for this time of year — which is a high of 40 degrees and a low of 22 degrees, he said.

More: Some local New Year's Eve plans scrapped, changed due to cold

More: Some areas of York County have nearly 4 inches of snow

Windy weekend: Larson said wind chills will be at or below zero Friday, and though it will not be as "gusty" Saturday as it will be Friday, the temperature will remain in the mid- to upper teens.

"The difference between this past weekend and this one coming up," said Aaron Tyburski, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, is the wind. "Wind chills will make it feel a little bit worse."

Larson projected lows of about 5 degrees Friday night and zero degrees Saturday night for York City. In the countryside, he said, it could be several degrees colder.

This will be close to the record for the area, Larson said, which is 1 degree above zero for Friday and 1 degree below zero for Sunday. 

More: As U.S. freezes, warming centers open in Deep South

Next week: "It looks like it will warm up for the first half of next week," Tyburski said. 

He said a storm system will move in from the west, preceded by warm air.

Larson said the region has been getting continuing blasts of cold air coming in from the Arctic and north-central Canada since Christmas, but next week, the area will see more air coming in from the west.

Tyburski said temperatures will rise from the 20s on Sunday to the upper 30s by Monday.

"Sunday we start to gradually work our way out of the deep freeze," Larson said.

He said Monday could be in the upper 30s, nearing 40 degrees in the afternoon.

"That’s noteworthy because it has not been above freezing at any point in York since Christmas Day, when it was 36 (degrees)," he said.

Both said there could be a wintry mix Monday, which will then turn to rain and continue into Tuesday.

Tuesday's temperatures will rise to the mid- to upper 30s, reaching the mid-40s by Thursday, Larson said. 

Tyburski said next week will probably not be as cold as recent days have been, but temperatures will return to freezing or below by the middle of next week.

More: Deadly, bone-chilling cold grips wide swath of U.S.

Avoid freezing pipes: Area plumbing companies confirm they have been getting many calls lately because of the cold, and they offered their tips for avoiding frozen pipes and other home issues.

Nate Minnich, office manager for Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, said homes can be more vulnerable to problems when it's windy because cold air more easily forces itself into crevices and small places.

The best recommendation to avoid freezing pipes, Minnich said, is to make sure they are insulated properly.

Heat tape can be installed through the pipes, and when the temperature reaches a certain point, the tape will warm up the pipe just enough to prevent freezing.

And just because a home's pipes have not been affected in the past doesn't mean they might not be, he said, because the direction of the wind can cause a different side of the house to be affected than in previous years.

"If you can stop cold air from moving, you can stop it from freezing," said Kim Cole, manager of Roto-Rooter York.

He recommends skirting or tarps to block cold air from flowing beneath mobile homes and said it's helpful to get a source of heat in basements to reach the outside walls.

A guest bathroom where the pipes are infrequently used is more susceptible to a freeze because of stagnant water, but leaving water dripping should be a last resort, Minnich said. 

"People often looking to save money may turn the thermostat down in (the) whole house and use space heaters," he said. 

But this causes interior walls, which would normally be protected from the cold, to be exposed, and space heaters can be a fire hazard and put a burden on electrical panels.

Both note the importance of unhooking garden hoses from outside faucets to avoid cracking the faucet and freezing the water up through it, which can cause water to leak through the walls and basement when the hose is turned back on in the spring.

— Staff reporter Christopher Dornblaser contributed to this report.

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