As the center of high pressure, or fair weather, drifts away from New England, clouds will increase from west to east in our Thursday sky ahead of an approaching warm front moving east from the Great Lakes. A warm front is the leading edge to milder air, but with the milder temperatures following the frontal boundary, not ahead of it, this does mean precipitation will break out Thursday evening and night in a still-cool air that will be able to produce some snow in addition to rain showers. The mixed showers arrive to Western New England during the early evening Thursday in scattered form, expanding east to the coast by 9-11 PM and continuing, off and on, through the overnight. Deep inland, in the northern and western Worcester Hills into South-Central NH, a coating of snow on the grass is possible overnight Thursday night, while Northern and Western New England will see periodic light snow continuing into Friday, dropping a broad one to two inches with locally higher amounts in the mountain. So, while a quarter to half inch of rain will fall in Southern New England and points south of about Concord, NH, this event should help, not hurt, northern and western ski areas with a bit of natural snow falling on an already snow gun-fortified base that built substantially over this past, cool week. A cold front associated with the weak storm will cross New England from northwest to southeast Friday, ending precipitation by early afternoon north and west, and kicking rain showers out of Eastern MA by around suppertime Friday. This opens the door to a cool, fair and breezy Saturday with gusts to 35 mph likely to cause a few summit chairlift holds in the mountains and creating a nippy feeling through the day for all of us. Sunday will continue the cool and fair weather, though the wind will be noticeably lighter as we await a new warm front, set to arrive Sunday night into Monday morning. Yet again, the push of new, milder air will bring some snow and rain showers to New England Sunday overnight into early Monday, then the door opens to daytime high temperatures in the 40s and 50s all of next week, more typical of early April! This milder pattern does come with an increased chance of rain showers, particularly around midweek, and will make for a spring-feeling return to school for kids that were on vacation this past week!
As high pressure – a fair weather cell – from Canada crests over New England, a Tuesday morning breeze goes quiet during the day as cool air remains anchored in the region for the time being. The center of high pressure usually is chock full of dry air and today is no exception, with the dry air not only ensuring plentiful sunshine but also drying the body – a little bit of sneaky dehydration given the temperature isn’t warm so the body doesn’t recognize it, but the dry air means hydration, lip balm and skin moisturizer will all be helpful to mitigate the effects on the body. A large ocean storm developing Tuesday night and Wednesday will stay hundreds of miles southeast of New England, but should add some wispy, high-altitude clouds to the sky that will dim the sun in Eastern New England, but certainly shouldn’t drop any precipitation into the very dry air. While the wind will stay light for most of New England, both Wednesday and Thursday should see an increase in wind over Vermont, where the Champlain Valley will find daytime gusts to 30 mph both days, as Western New England sits between the slowly departing high pressure cell and a weak storm center over the Ontario/Quebec Provincial line in Canada. Eventually, a new and stronger storm center will develop out of the Ohio Valley Thursday and move directly over New England Friday. At first, there will likely be enough lingering cold air for a push of snow into North-Central and Western MA points north with a coating to 2”, before mild air carried on an increasing southerly breeze with the incoming storm forces a change to rain showers during the day Friday as temperatures rise well into the 40s and near 50° for some. Soon after, a cold front associated with the storm center will cross through New England by later Friday, ending the northward push of mild air and delivering another shot of cool, dry air for a fair, wintry feeling weekend. Nonetheless, this week is the week we see historically, on average, see Boston’s daily high temperature cross 40 degrees, and there is a turning point of sorts this year – once we clear the weekend, the jet stream pattern reconfigures in a way that will send exceptional warmth into New England, likely making next week more similar to the first week of April. The warmth builds in the nation’s midsection this week into the weekend, and once the jet stream’s fast winds aloft start to rise northward over New England by the end of the upcoming weekend, that opens the door to temperatures in the 50s for much of next week, albeit with an elevated chance of showers.
Blustery Conditions Wednesday Set the Stage for a Quick Round of Lightly Accumulating Snow Thursday Evening and Night
As Tuesday’s storm departs though the Canadian Maritimes after dropping a rare nine inches of snow at Chilmark, on Martha’s Vineyard, the broad and far-reaching counter-clockwise flow of air around the storm has ushered a feisty northwest wind into New England, transporting a fresh shot of chilly, dry air from Canada. The upside to this air is the dry nature of it – affording plenty of sunshine. The downside is that sunshine will be equalized by wind chill values in the teens at the warmest time of Wednesday, owing to a steady northwest wind at 15-25 mph with gusts to 40 mph at times. Of course, snow and ice doesn’t respond to wind chill, so actual high temperatures around the melting point will mean some melting of roadsides and walkways, so sunglasses and windshield washer fluid will help reduce the glare before a few slick spots redevelop in a re-freeze Wednesday night as lows drop to around 20 with wind chill values in the single digits. Thursday dawns with cold sunshine, but clouds will increase as the wind subsides during the day, ahead of a fast-moving disturbance cutting from west to east and entering New England with snow Thursday evening, developing from 6pm to 11pm, west to east, and continuing in most spots for about 5 of 6 hours, dropping one to two inches for many, two to four in the mountains and less in far Southern New England, where the South Coast may mix with raindrops. Even a little natural snow will be a great boost for ski areas to assist with nearly non-stop snowmaking in favorable weather conditions for snow guns to blast both day and night all the way into the holiday weekend and February vacation week for many. In fact, after another blustery but dry day Friday, Saturday brings one more disturbance that should spread at least scattered snow showers across New England, with Sunday brighter for most but still featuring some mountain snow showers at times. Daytime temperatures will hover in the 30s for most through the holiday weekend, with Presidents’ Day bringing sunshine and seasonable air. February vacation week (at least for most in MA, ME, CT, and RI) starts with a continuation of classic February air and quiet weather to enjoy outdoor recreation, though the weather may turn more unsettled with an increased chance of rain or snow by the end of the week.
Why Was the Snow Forecast for Tuesday's Storm So Different From Reality, Even Just Over 24 Hours Out?
For those who missed the explanation on-air, this was shot on an iPhone just to give a quick overview if you're curious about why Tuesday's snow storm failed to materialize as expected. There are other factors at play, but meteorologically, they boil down to this failure for two parcels of atmospheric energy to merge as originally predicted, and the very meaningful change in wind aloft that made all the difference.
There is a LOT going on in the weather world, even if there's no imminent "big event!" In this video I cover:
- This morning's uncommon black ice event
- New Moon coastal flood potential through the weekend
- Gusty wind for summit chairlifts Saturday
- Record warmth for some Saturday
- The potential for Saturday thunderstorms! Perhaps even some small hail.
- The storm potential for Monday night/Tuesday of next week
- The longer range forecast that will ease the mind of skiers and snowboarders worried you might get a big meltdown before February vacation (you won't)
I hope you enjoy! -Matt
Thursday marks the start of a noticeably different feeling in the weather – a milder feeling with cold relaxing and temperatures set to warm daily until challenging record warmth this weekend. For now, the absence of wind and the presence of sunshine is making the difference, with variable clouds still drifting over Cape Cod from time to time but the solid deck of clouds and flurries of the last few days gone even from the Cape. Although high temperatures Thursday won’t exceed the lower to middle 40s, a quiet wind slowly shifts to blow from the south Thursday night into Friday, continuing the flow of new air that has produced high temperatures well into the 50s and 60s in the nation’s midsection this week. Often, the arrival of new, milder air comes with some increasing in atmospheric moisture and resulting clouds, and this time will be no different: clouds should fill in overnight Thursday night and when very light showers fall between 4am and 8am Friday morning, temperatures will be either side of the freezing mark, meaning we may see a couple of isolated slick spots in the early going Friday. Given expected very light precipitation amounts, that’s unlikely to be a widespread issue and, regardless, temperatures quickly rebound from mid-morning onward with abundant clouds breaking for some sun and a southerly wind nudging afternoon temperatures toward 50 degrees. In fact, with Friday’s air delivering highs into the lower 50s in the Ohio Valley this week, it’s possible we break 50 by day’s end! The milder trend won’t end there – by Saturday, highs should come close to our record high temperature of 60 degrees set on the date just one year ago. Meanwhile, we’re heading into a few days with high tidal levels at our shorelines, thanks to Friday’s New Moon phase, and this should result in some splashover at the midday high tides Friday and Saturday, and perhaps some pockets of minor coastal flooding in typically vulnerable spots. A cold front arrives Saturday evening and should spread scattered showers from west to east across New England late Saturday into Saturday night – in fact, with such mild air, a rumble of thunder isn’t likely but can’t entirely be ruled out in Southern New England! Regardless, the cold air behind that cold front is sluggish, so Sunday looks fair and still reaches near 50 degrees in Southern New England with 40s north. Cooler air seeps into New England early next week at the same time the fast river of air high in the sky, called the jet stream, steers a disturbance close to New England. This disturbance, feeding off the temperature clash setting up, should strengthen to become a storm impacting the area Monday night through Tuesday, though right now the track, intensity and rain/snow line associated with that storm are far from determined. Our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast shows this mild spell isn’t the end of winter – another shot of colder-than-normal air arrives for the second half of next week.
The recent chilly air is easing regionwide across New England as the center of high pressure drifts slowly east of the region, allowing a light and variable morning wind to turn and blow gently from the southwest during the second half of the day, helping temperatures to reach 35-40° even under lots of clouds. Typically, high pressure delivers fair weather – while the sky may not reflect that with more than just breaks of sun Wednesday, the light wind and lack of snowflakes is a sure sign. In fact, closer to the center of the fair weather cell, a clear sky Wednesday morning allowed Northern ME to drop as cold as 20 degrees below zero!! Breaks in the clouds will grow later Wednesday into Wednesday night, but after limited morning sun Thursday, clouds will fill in again ahead of an approaching cold front attendant to a weak storm center moving west to east along the U.S./Canadian border. Along the storm track, in Northern ME, up to four inches of snow will fall, while the mountains see Thursday snow showers and Central to Southern New England sees only a late day to evening scattered rain or snow shower that should last into the overnight near the South Coast. Friday, cooler air will be moving into New England, though it won’t be a sudden transition – high temperatures should still reach 40° for some of Southern New England with scattered rain and snow showers, particularly later in the day, that may drop a scattered coating Friday evening before ending. The new air for this weekend will bring incredible weather for winter sports and outside winter plans, regionwide, with a fair sky Saturday, sunshine Sunday and daytime highs in the 30s with only a light northwest wind. On a larger scale, the weather pattern through the weekend into next week will be dominated by a jet stream configuration known as a “block” – a slow-moving weather pattern that stalls the storm-steering jet stream winds aloft. For the Plains States, this stalling pattern will mean persistent unsettled weather, the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes will see mild temperatures, and New England will find a status quo – a cool, but not cold, temperature regime with big storms unlikely, even as a passing disturbance at midweek next week touches off a few snow showers. So, for the time-being, our exclusive First Alert 10-day Forecast brings promise of a fairly benign stretch of weather.
Although pockets of light snow will continue off and on through Monday, overall impact will be negligible as roads continue steadily improving with temperatures easing above the melting point and road treatments taking hold. Nonetheless, enough moisture lingers in the atmosphere behind our slowly departing storm for pockets of light snow and mix with rain to continue, particularly in Eastern New England, though not more than a new coating is expected on top of the two to four inches of snow that fell for most of the Boston Metro, and over half foot that fell in top totals from Southern NH to North-Central MA. As the northerly wind gusts to 30 mph at times Monday, high temperatures of 35-40° will feel like the 20s, then wind chill values drop to the single digits overnight Monday night as the wind turns northeast and should blow some light ocean-effect snow into the South Shore and Cape Cod, where another fresh coating is possible. Otherwise, the big impact of falling temperatures to either side of 20° will be to freeze and lock in place lingering snow and moisture, so it’s a good idea to clean off the snow during the day Monday, as even Tuesday’s limited sun through plenty of clouds won’t be able to budge temperatures to the melting point for most. The snow and ice will soften Wednesday with cold air easing and temperatures returning to the middle and upper 30s ahead of a new disturbance – a relatively weak one – that will bring mixed snow and rain showers to New England from late Thursday into Friday. Limited impact is expected from this late week disturbance, but an attendant cold front will cross the region later Friday, opening the door to a renewed shot of chilly air and returning daytime high temperatures to around 30 degrees on both weekend days, though the dry nature of the air should ensure a fair weekend sky. That shot of cool air sticks around through the end of the exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast, keeping temperatures a few degrees colder than normal for this time of the year…but it’s worth noting…we’ve passed the historically coldest days of the year and, little by little, our historically average temperatures continue to rebound from this point forward, though, of course, that doesn’t guarantee the actual daily forecast is all up (just yet)!
Although chilly air continues for New England, the air Thursday isn’t quite as dry as it was Wednesday, this allows for quickly increasing clouds that will look like snow is coming most of the day, but at day’s end into evening, only a few flurries will fall as a disturbance aloft passes through the New England sky. Daytime wind chill values will run about ten degrees colder than our actual highs that near 30 degrees, then overnight lows dip to the teens for most under a cloudy sky. Our next snow-maker won’t impact everyone in New England, but as of Thursday is located over the Northern Plains States and zipping east. This disturbance will remain moisture-starved for most of its cross-country journey, with only a small amount of Gulf of Mexico moisture finally meeting it as it nears PA overnight Thursday night – but as the system nears New England, it will pick up ocean moisture and the snow shield associated with the storm center will expand. The heaviest precipitation is expected to fall over the Mid-Atlantic States and ocean waters south of New England, but even being on the northern fringe of the storm will be sufficient for light snow Friday – starting as flurries Friday morning, then turning steadier and more widespread during the middle to late morning and lingering until evening, around or shortly after suppertime. When all is said and done, very little if any snow will likely have fallen in Central and Northern New England, but the southern half of New England should pick up amounts ranging from a coating either side of the MA/VT/NH border, to an inch in Northern CT, RI and the Providence/Boston corridor, to as much as three or four inches in Southeast MA – all of this sufficient to bring out road treatments for many and plows for some. Behind the storm, the coldest air so far this winter arrives Saturday – while that may not be saying much, it’ll still have quite a wintry bite as it arrives with more clouds than sun, a steady northwest breeze and temperatures struggling to surpass 20 degrees with wind chill values rising from subzero in the morning to single digits at the warmest time of day! On the Outer Cape, some ocean-effect snow showers are possible Saturday afternoon as cold air moves across the relatively warm ocean waters. By Sunday, sunshine will be abundant and temperatures rebound into the 20s with slightly less wind, then a continued rebound returns New England to near-normal temperatures in the 30s Monday. Our First Alert Team expects a warmer-than-normal stretch to arrive the remainder of next week and though it likely won’t quite feel like a spring fling with lots of clouds and periodic snow and rain showers, even temperatures in the 40s will be about 6-12 degrees above normal for the fourth week of January.
Chilly and dry air has moved into New England and while that means sunshine with only fair weather clouds regionwide Wednesday, it also has delivered a cold start with lingering moisture as black ice and patchy snow on area roadways. While high temperatures won’t pass the melting point Wednesday afternoon and wind chill values will hover in the teens, making for a downright chilly day, the sunshine will warm pavement enough for some melting and road spray, so sunglasses and windshield washer fluid both are coming in handy. The dry air will make hydration a helpful part of the day for kids and adults alike to stave off dull headaches, dry skin and chapped lips from subtle dehydration. Temperatures Wednesday night will dip into the teens and single digits north under a mostly clear sky ahead of morning sunshine that quickly fades behind advancing clouds Thursday. Those clouds are associated with an incoming jet stream level disturbance interacting with a weak and stalled front extending from the Twin Tiers of NY and PA into Southern New England, and a few snow showers may develop in CT, RI and Southeast MA from midday Thursday to Thursday evening with little accumulation. The next disturbance moving east across the Eastern Seaboard Friday will be stronger, and when it nears the ocean water and associated available moisture, a swath of snow will develop out of Pennsylvania. While the storm center strengthens over the waters south of New England Friday and keeps the brunt of precipitation with it, the combination of limited moisture extending northward plus a north-northeast wind off the ocean, adding near-surface moisture, periodic light snow is possible in Southern New England and our exclusive NBC Forecast System is preliminarily cranking out one to three inches for many areas south of the MA Pike Friday into Friday evening. Behind that storm, the coldest air of the winter thus far surges into New England from Canada – this air has origins by the North Pole and high temperatures under lots of clouds and limited sun Saturday won’t surpass 20° for most, with a busy northerly wind creating a wind chill in the single digits at the warmest time of the day. Sunday is only slightly better, though the sun will be brighter, then a major weather pattern change begins: the jet stream winds aloft, separating cold air to the north from warmth to the south, will ride north toward New England, opening the door to increasingly mild air that should flip our temperature regime from colder-than-normal to warmer-than-normal pretty quickly Monday onward, with high temperatures later in the week nearing 50 degrees for some, including Boston, in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.