Wednesday is the pinnacle of this cold blast for New England: after record cold morning low temperatures in Worcester, MA, Manchester, NH, and a dozen New England cities and towns. More records fall Wednesday afternoon as record cold high temperatures will be set in this early arctic blast, following the morning low temperatures, and a busy northwest wind with gusts to 35 mph will deliver a wind chill no milder than 20 degrees even at the warmest time of the day. The wind starts to quiet Wednesday evening and becomes nearly calm Wednesday night, which means temperatures will tumble under a clear sky into the teens with some single digits north, setting us up for a cold Thursday – though not as cold as Wednesday. With a light wind Thursday and temperatures about 10 degrees warmer than Wednesday, we’ll surely notice the improvement, though by November standards even this moderation would normally be considered a colder-than-normal day. Thursday afternoon, a light southerly wind will pick up across New England, gliding milder air northward aloft, which should cause expanding clouds from south to north Thursday afternoon and evening that will blot out the sun and eventually may carry some scattered rain showers over Southeast New England overnight Thursday night into Friday morning, before departing for returning sun and at least one day of a milder breeze to bump temperatures over 50 degrees. That relative warmth will be limited – another shot of chill arrives Friday night and stays for the weekend, locking in sunshine with highs in the 30s Saturday, then increasing clouds with more cool air Sunday. The first half of next week may be unsettled, with a chance of rain and snow showers Sunday night into early Monday, then a chance of rain showers Tuesday night into Wednesday, but the week, overall in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast, looks milder than we’ve ended this one.
Today is the day the much-advertised, powerful arctic cold front crosses New England. In Northern New England and west through the Berkshires, the cold air is already well-entrenched and snow continues to fly with another few fresh inches falling today. For the rest of us, it’s all about timing as the cold front poised to change rain to snow will march southeast, bringing that change to Southern NH and Central MA shortly after midday, to the Boston area by mid-afternoon and to Cape Cod by dinnertime. As rain changes to snow, temperatures will fall quickly through the 30s and even into the 20s, meaning though not much snow is expected – on the order of a coating to as much as an inch in some spots – the moisture will cling to and freeze on roadways this afternoon and evening, creating areas of road ice that will need to be treated and may become hazardous. As arctic air blasts in tonight, skies will clear and temperatures will plummet into the teens for many with wind chill values landing either side of zero and staying there for the morning commute and kids at the bus stop Wednesday morning. Even with tons of sun, Wednesday high temperatures won’t exceed 30 degrees and wind chill values won’t surpass 20 during the warmest time of the day. By Thursday, the air won’t be as cold, but it won’t be comfortable either with more clouds and highs only topping out near 40 degrees. Friday brings a one-day burst of warmer wind before another chunk of chilly air descends on New England for the weekend. Eventually, this leads to another period of disturbed weather early next week in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast, but at this time it looks to be a bit milder storm for the Boston area…though a wintry mix is possible farther north.
A full-fledged winter storm is underway in Northern New England, where snow has already started flying and continues to expand across the North Country, while a northerly wind draining cold air southward out of Canada should push temperatures below freezing this evening from Central Vermont to North-Central NH to South-Central Maine, resulting in a period of late day and evening freezing rain. Farther south, not much fanfare is expected Monday through Monday night, as milder air makes a stand for mostly cloudy skies and temperatures holding near 50 and even closer to 60 by Tuesday morning on Cape Cod. Until the clash of cold and warm air makes it far enough south to reach the southern half of New England, there won’t be much precipitation beyond an occasional sprinkle Monday through early Tuesday morning, but the arrival of a sharp cold front from north to south Tuesday morning will prompt rain showers first, then snow showers. The problem for the southern half of New England isn’t so much the snow accumulations of 6-12 inches like we’ll see in the north, or the two to four inches mixed with ice like we see Central – rather, a dusting to an inch of snow will come at an inopportune time just ahead of temperatures dropping below freezing, making road ice a possibility road crews should be ready for Tuesday afternoon. Drier air surging in Tuesday night through Wednesday is also cold air – record cold. Wednesday morning wind chill values near zero will precede record cold high temperatures for the date even beneath ample yet ineffective sunshine. The cold relaxes only slightly Thursday, then more so Friday before being reinforced Saturday…but this is likely to deliver a dry weekend for us, at least until late Sunday or Sunday night in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.
The Eastern Equine Encephalitis threat in Southern New England finally comes to an end Friday night. After an especially difficult season with the mosquito-borne illness, a hard freeze is expected all the way to the South Coast of New England overnight Friday, which will result in either the death or hibernation of what’s left of the over 50 species of mosquitoes that call Southern New England home. The local maximum of EEE cases here in New England surprises many, but is the product of migrating birds from Florida that prefer swamp maples and reside in New England for the warm months, bringing EEE with them, then spread by mosquitoes here in New England. The way to stop the spread of EEE is to stop the mosquitoes: while spraying by many communities certainly helps to mitigate the threat, the hard and fast way to end the threat is to freeze it out – literally. A hard freeze is when temperatures drop to or below 28 degrees for a period of three hours or longer. While a hard freeze certainly has an agricultural importance, this year in New England our first frost came and passed and the growing season is over, so the biggest impact of our hard freeze tonight is to send the remaining mosquitoes into hibernation or their death and relax the minds of many New Englanders until next warm season.
Friday’s wintry chill is delivering wind chill values of 20 to 30 degrees at even the warmest time of the day as the combination of high temperatures around 40 and wind speeds of 15 to 25 mph makes for a chilly impact on the body. In the midst of winter, a day like this would be at least par for the course if not a welcome day, but coming as the coldest air of the young season and the coldest wind chill we’ve experienced in months, it’s a bit of a shock to the system. The wind will die gradually Friday night, but a clear sky and chilly airmass will mean near-record cold temperatures in some spots, including Hartford, CT. Regardless, lows in the teens and 20s will send nearly all mosquitoes – as far as the immediate South Coast communities – to their death or hibernation, effectively ending the EEE threat that lingered in Southern New England. Saturday’s high temperature won’t be much warmer than Friday, but it’ll feel warmer for the simple reason the wind will be far lighter – not imperceptible but light enough that wind chill won’t be much of a factor. There’s some irony in the fact that Sunday sees milder temperatures in the 50s: the milder air comes courtesy of a southwest breeze, which does drive the thermometer reading up, but reintroduces wind chill and limits just how much better the air will feel, particularly with increased cloud cover. Our next storm has shown up on our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast for days and still looks to move in sometime later Monday and last through Tuesday, likely bringing a combination of rain and snow with the greatest chance of snow starting north, but a possibility for mixing or a change even in Southern New England by the storm’s end, depending on its track. Behind the early-week storm comes a midweek blast of cold air that should be even colder than the one we’ve ended this week with!
The well-advertised weather pattern changes that deliver a winter preview and a shift toward a colder pattern are arriving to New England on our Thursday. A chilly start quickly has given way to milder temperatures in Southern New England as the wind increases and mixes milder air toward the ground from its position above our heads. By day’s end, high temperatures will reach the middle and upper 50s in Southern New England, though Northern New England has trouble breaking past 40, particularly where snow has not just been falling already, but has coating the ground in some of the North Country! As rain approaches from the southwest and snow slowly sinks south, both feeds of moisture converge and the northern cold will press southward gradually through the day, dropping the rain/snow line slowly south out of the mountains during the late day, accelerating after dark. Still, the incoming cold air that wins out is also drier by nature, so outside of Northern New England it becomes harder to accumulate much meaningful snow because as we turn cold enough to turn rain to snow, the drier air starts shutting precipitation down. The result will be amounts of three to six inches of snow in Northern New England, with highest amounts in higher terrain, but only a coating to an inch in places like Southwest New Hampshire into the grassy surfaces of North-Central MA and a dusting on the grass for some communities in the remainder of Southern New England. Thereafter, a cold blast takes hold with temperatures Friday stuck shy of 40 at the warmest time of the day and wind chill values of 15-25° early and never above 30° at the warmest time of the day for the coldest day in months, owing both to the cold and a northwest wind gusting to 40 mph. Saturday brings continued chilly air, but a much lighter wind will create a very different feeling, then Sunday warmth attempts a return on an increasing southwest breeze that will result in increasing clouds and perhaps some sprinkles by afternoon, particularly in Northern New England. The next storm to impact New England will come Monday night through Tuesday night, likely bringing more rain than snow for many of us, but quite possibly at least some of each before yet another shot of deep chill arrives for the middle of next week in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.