As we approach the end of this godforsaken year, people around the country will flock outside watch their fellow citizens lower some trinket from a rope to signal the arrival of the new year. How cold will it be when you watch the ball, Moon Pie, or big red high heel drop? Let's take a look at your midnight forecast.
Above is a map showing the National Weather Service's forecast temperatures at midnight Eastern Time. It won't be too bad across the East Coast—temperatures will range from the teens in Maine through the 20s and into 30s down the coast, until you reach the 60s and 70s in Florida.
New York City
It won't be too bad in New York City this time around, considering what we've seen in years past. The all-knowing Wikipedia claims that the average temperature in the Big Apple during the ball drop is 33.7°F, with the warmest midnight clocking in at 58°F and the coldest coming in at a balmy 1°F.
This year, the National Weather Service predicts that the temperature at midnight will be a crisp 34°F with partly cloudy skies and light winds.
Key West, as usual, will win the night for making the most people green with envy. The National Weather Service expects that the temperature will sit at a frigid 75 degrees with gusty easterly winds and a slight chance of showers when the Bourbon St. Pub lowers a drag queen named Sushi to the ground in a big red high heel at the stroke of midnight. The event is famously featured on CNN during Anderson Cooper's annual awkward-thon with Kathy Griffin.
The original home to Mardi Gras in the United States, Mobile celebrates New Year's Eve each year by lowering a giant, illuminated cutout of a 600-pound Moon Pie (the chocolate/marshmallow snack cake) from halfway up the RSA-Banktrust Building that sits more than 400 feet over downtown Mobile.
Temperatures for the event will be rather chilly, with readings in the low 40s as Mobilians ring in 2015.
Everything is bigger in Texas, and instead of dropping something to the ground, residents enjoy a fireworks show in the city's Victory Park. The good news is that an approaching storm system should stay far enough to the west to spare partygoers any major issues. It will be cloudy and cold though, with a temperature of around 36°F at midnight and a slight chance of rain.
Let's take a look at conditions out west. The above map shows forecast temperatures for 12:00 AM on Thursday for Pacific Time.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas will see the potential for some ugly weather conditions as residents and tourists ring in the new year. The city is under a winter weather advisory for the possibility of up to an inch of snow—the first time the city proper will have seen accumulating snow since December 2008, if it comes to fruition—with subfreezing temperatures and a wind chill in the 20s. It'll be miserable if you're outside.
Vegas being Vegas, there are more events going on for New Year's Eve than I could possibly list. If the weather shafts you out of doing something outside, slip inside and watch a Wayne Newton impersonator. It certainly won't be the worst thing to have happened to you this year.
Los Angeles, California
Warm and sunny California will be neither at midnight on New Year's (at least I'd hope it's not sunny in California at midnight). The midnight temperature in LA will be 43°F, which is equivalent to subzero temperatures everywhere else in the country. Expect to see lots of shorts/parka combos if you're out and about. At least it won't be snowing!
San Francisco, California
It'll be 45°F and clear at midnight in downtown San Francisco, according to the National Weather Service, but that won't matter, because you'll probably be inside somewhere.
Poor Seattle. The normally mild, rainy city in the Pacific Northwest will freeze their faces off when the clock strikes midnight. Temperatures in the mid-20s and clear skies will provide a brutal wait for 12:00 AM to those who dare brave the conditions on Wednesday night. The bright side is that clear skies and light, variable winds should provide no barrier to the awesome fireworks show on the Space Needle.
Stay mindful of wind chills if you have to go out...unless you're in southern Florida, because southern Florida. Next year will be a better one. 2014 began with the "polar vortex" last year, and it doesn't look like we'll start the year with a repeat, so things are already looking up for 2015.
[Images via AP, maps by the author | Correction: I said that Las Vegas was "in Mountain Time, of course," except that it's not. Of course. Oops.]