After expected near-gale-force gusts well into Tuesday night, the National Weather Service is calling for a hard freeze Wednesday morning with a brisk wind that will drive wind chills into January levels.

Despite the urban heat island effect, Philadelphia has a shot at reaching the freezing mark, said Lee Robertson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly. That hasn’t happened officially on an April 22 since 1988, and that was the only the second time it had occurred in the period of record, dating to 1874. The record for the date, 30, was set in 1875.

The chill comes in the wake of a line of thunderstorms that breezed through the region between 1 and 2 p.m., generating gusts to 59 mph at Philadelphia International Airport and 56 mph in Burlington County, along with reports of half-inch hail in Camden County, and quarter-inch in Norristown, Upper Bucks County, Wilmington, and elsewhere.

But only widely scattered power outages were reported in the region.

A police officer walks past a fallen tree in Haddon Heights.
A police officer walks past a fallen tree in Haddon Heights.

The storms were set off by a passing cold front that threatens to chill the region with yet another freeze.

A freeze warning is in effect for the entire region for Wednesday morning.

All the blue is for cold: Freeze warnings are up for the entire region.
National Weather Service
All the blue is for cold: Freeze warnings are up for the entire region.

Strong winds will send wind chills into the low and mid-20s overnight, but they also will inhibit frost from forming. Winds can keep cold air from settling on the ground and other surfaces.

In what might qualify as news these days, Wednesday is supposed to be sunny all day. But don’t get used to it. Significant rain is expected Thursday into Friday, and rain chances are in the forecast through the weekend.

Afternoon highs, in the 50s and low 60s, will remain several degrees below normal.

And for late Tuesday night and early Wednesday, the forecast calls for a 100% chance of showers — meteor showers, that is.

Skies have cleared, and the Lyrid meteors, perhaps 20 an hour, should be visible from about 10 p.m. on. Dress warmly.