New England is on the precipice of another storm with snow north and rain south – just the way many New Englanders say you prefer your winter storms. The only affects of the changing weather pattern Wednesday are lots of clouds and areas of sprinkles, flurries, drizzle and fog – temperatures remain milder than normal, though the abundance of clouds is keeping us all noticeably cooler than the last couple of days. The energetic disturbance ejecting out of the Midwest and Ohio Valley, carried by the jet stream winds aloft – the fast, storm steering winds – will focus an area of blossoming rain through Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic Wednesday evening and night, arriving to New England just in time for the morning commute Thursday, prompting the issuance of a First Alert from our Weather Team. In Northern New England, enough cold air is holding on for snow, not rain, and our First Alert team is predicting over a foot of snow in some of the higher terrain of New Hampshire and Maine, with a widespread four to eight inches fairly commonplace throughout mountain communities. Wind will gust from the east across the Green Mountains overnight Wednesday night, along the Eastern Massachusetts coast Thursday morning and along the Maine coast Thursday late morning and midday, reaching 40 to 50 mph in higher gusts and ensuring any snow changes to rain along the coast of Maine Thursday, though snow will continue farther inland. For Southern New England, the inch of rain that falls Thursday morning will exit as soon as mid-morning, leaving emerging sunshine and a busy, drying wind from the southwest gusting to 40 mph. By late Thursday, most of Northern New England will also be drying out though mountain flurries and snow showers will persist from time to time into Friday. The weekend features fair sky and – at least on Friday – a cool breeze that will ease Saturday and Sunday, but chilly air more typical of winter will be in place Friday through Monday, ensuring fantastic skiing and snowmobiling conditions yet again across Northern and Central New England. The next significant storm for our nation winds up next week, but it will develop well to our west, encouraging a deep southerly wind flow through the atmosphere, meaning temperatures are likely to rise back into at least the 50s and probably even 60s for at least a time next week around midweek in this winter that fails to deliver lasting cold to most of the nation.
Tuesday clouds don’t entirely ruin the high New Englanders are still riding from highs into the 50s and 60s Monday – in fact, thin spots and holes in the clouds allow for splashes of sun to bump temperatures into the 50s again for Southern and Central New England. In Northern New England, a northerly wind has begun, very slowly draining cold air across the Canada border and starting a slow but steady flow of colder air that will be a key ingredient in making significant mountain snow Wednesday night through Thursday. For now, enough mild air lingers in New England for any stray raindrops to be just that – raindrops. That said, raindrops will be few and far between Tuesday, at least until sprinkles and light showers return to the South Coast Tuesday middle to late afternoon, after early morning showers had departed Cape Cod. The sprinkles and light showers will slowly expand north through Southern New England Tuesday night, and into Vermont and New Hampshire as scattered snow showers overnight Tuesday night, dropping a scattered coating of snow, for these northern communities by dawn Wednesday. Sprinkles, drizzle and northern flurries will keep Wednesday a dank day with a raw feeling, then the more organized area of precipitation treks northeast into New England Wednesday night into Thursday. In Southern New England, we’ve hoisted a First Alert for early Thursday morning because we expect overnight rain to linger until 7 or 8 AM Thursday, slowing the morning commute before departing for emerging sunshine. In the Northern half of New England, snow will fall steadily Wednesday night into Thursday, gradually decreasing in intensity Thursday but dropping six to nine inches for many, and over a foot of snow in the White Mountains. This bounty of additional snow for skiers and snowmobilers will be followed by chilly and dry air Friday through Monday, making for another exceptional weekend for winter sports. The difference this weekend from last will be the absence of late weekend warming – Sunday will be just as cool as Saturday, with more moderate temperatures not returning until next week, when another run at 60 degrees shows up in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.
If you watched our NBC10 Boston and NECN morning show Monday, you saw the update: another earthquake has rumbled in New England. In fact, Sunday evening’s quake at 5:44 PM measured a 2.2 magnitude with an epicenter in Sabattus, Maine, just outside of Lewiston. The quake was felt through the Lewiston area as a light shaking, as was an aftershock! Just 17 minutes after the primary quake, a magnitude 1.5 aftershock rumbled in the same spot. This comes on the heels of a quake last Monday, February 17, in Albany, New Hampshire, not far from Conway, that registered a magnitude of 1.9 in the northeast part of the Granite State. On Wednesday, February 12, a magnitude 1.8 earthquake rumbled in Enosburg Falls, Vermont, and back on Sunday, January 26, a magnitude 1.0 quake was barely felt in Calais, Maine, in the eastern tip of the Pine Tree State. Put this all together along with five earthquakes in the St. Lawrence River Valley in Canada and southern Quebec, and it’s been a busy month! Four earthquakes in four weeks in New England (plus one aftershock) and nine if we include Southern Canada. As our First Alert Team has noted before, none of this indicates a larger earthquake is necessarily approaching – we’ve seen active periods like this before that come and go – but it certainly is enough to keep us on our toes and extra-sensitive to motion around us!
Exceptional! Stunning! Incredible! There are plenty of superlatives we could choose to describe Monday’s high temperatures around 60 degrees in Southern New England and 50° north, but our First Alert Team is fairly certain the vast majority of New Englanders will have few complaints. Abundant sunshine comes courtesy of dry air – dry enough to result in some static electric shocks as you work around the house, car or office, but also dry enough to hold off our next chance of showers until Tuesday morning. As clouds increase ahead of the next storm system overnight Monday night, these clouds will thicken by Tuesday morning and the increase of moisture aloft eventually will likely produce some Tuesday morning sprinkles south and flurries north – with more organized showers quite possible in far Southern New England. As multiple upper level disturbances cross the sky of New England in the coming days, all in advance of a well-defined surface storm that runs into the Great Lakes and then spawns a second storm center directly over Southern New England, the chance of showers remains in the forecast from Tuesday through very early Thursday morning, with the most focus of these showers found Tuesday evening and night and again Wednesday evening and night. Along the way, the temperature stays marginal in Northern New England for either rain or snow – or more likely a combination of both dependent upon elevation and northward extent – but by Wednesday night into Thursday, though Southern New England is likely to rain, Northern New England is more likely to see accumulating snow. Yet again, Wednesday night into Thursday New England will see a storm with rain south and snow north, just like so many New Englanders seem to ask for in their “perfect setup” for New England winter storms, adding more snow to ski slopes and snowmobile trails. The snow won’t melt quickly: by Friday, cold air is back into New England with temperatures in the 20s and 30s and a chilly shot of more typical winter air – actually just a bit colder than normal for the end of February and start of March – lingers through next Monday, before a quick rebound to mild air seems likely again by midweek next week in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.
Not only was the air Friday morning cold enough for ocean-effect and ocean-enhanced snow showers – clouds and snow showers that develop when the wind blows cold air across relatively warm ocean waters and those snow showers follow the wind flow – but New England this morning took the title as coldest location in the nation. With a morning low temperature of -34°F, Big Black River, Maine, bested not only every other New England community, but as best our First Alert Weather Team can tell, every location in the nation, including Alaska. Not far behind was Island Pond, Vermont, with a low of -32°, followed by Pittsburg, New Hampshire at -28°. When we consider forecast highs Friday afternoon in these communities of 15 to 25 degrees above zero, that’s a pretty remarkable recovery! Farther south, the cold air made for plenty of single digit morning temperatures and the ocean-enhanced snow showers from the South Shore of MA onto Cape Cod haven’t accumulated more than a dusting but have slightly reduced visibility, put snowflakes in the air, and will disintegrate by early afternoon. Clear sky is expected for one and all Friday night with low temperatures not as cold as Friday morning, but still dipping into the single digits north and teens to twenties south as a weak warm front moves from west to east, turning the wind to blow from the southwest. The southwest wind couples with sun Saturday to bump temperatures above the melting point for nearly everyone and 40s in Southern New England, though that same wind will contribute to at least a slight wind chill in the 30s. Ski, snowmobile and ice fishing conditions in the Lakes and Mountains of Northern New England will all be terrific this weekend with goggles or sunglasses a necessary accessory and sunscreen not a bad idea, while most of Southern New England is snow-free or pretty close to it, making temperatures around 50° perfect for taking the kids to the playground, driving golf balls or exercising outside, with snow melted off the side of the roads even favorable for bicyclists! The weather stays mild early next week but finally, after several days, a new storm approaches from the west. This should mean clouds increasing later Monday and showers setting in Tuesday and Wednesday. Right now, we’re uncertain just how quickly colder air returns next Wednesday or Thursday to New England, but that timing will be important to determine both when the showers come to an end, and how much if any snow they would end as. Right now, there’s not much evidence this will be a lot different from recent storms – perhaps an unceremonious smattering of snow showers south with the chance for something more meaningful north, where cold air will be so stubborn that even some of the Tuesday or Wednesday showers may fall as snowflakes. Next weekend looks chilly and dry in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.
New England has entered a stretch of quiet and dry weather for several days, though the temperature will feature a pretty big swing from week’s end to weekend. All of the weather New England – and the entire northern tier of the United States – will see in the coming days comes as a product of a huge area of high pressure, or fair weather, migrating east-southeast from Canada to the Northern United States. South of this large dome of dry and cold air, a storm system loaded with Pacific and Gulf of Mexico moisture is soaking some of the Southeast and snowing on others, causing air travel delays and traffic trouble from Dallas and Houston to Nashville and Memphis to Raleigh and Charlotte. Here at home, subtle weather changes day-to-day will come from a shifting wind. Thursday’s northwest wind will couple with an atmosphere already favorable for puffy cumulus clouds to develop to create some healthy, bubbling clouds in especially our hills and mountains, where a flurry or two are possible. For the rest of us, these fair weather clouds may shadow the sun at times and even a light breeze will be enough to create a wind chill some ten degrees cooler than the actual high temperatures of 30 degrees south and 20 north, but by Friday the wind shifts just enough that some ocean-effect clouds will likely drift over Cape Cod during the day, perhaps even dropping some snow flurries from time to time while the rest of us remain sunny. The puff of ocean moisture over the Cape Friday will dissipate by day’s end, and from that point forward the weekend will feature sun and clouds as a warm front crosses from west to east Friday night and opens the door to more moderate air, bumping temperatures into the 30s and 40s Saturday, and near 50 for some by Sunday afternoon! With dry weather expected, this opens the door to skiing on firm snow Thursday and Friday, softer snow Saturday and Sunday, great snowmobiling for extended rides and even puts a round of golf or a trip to the driving range on the docket when some courses are opened in snow-free parts of Southern New England. Next week starts dry on Monday with temperatures continuing to gradually rise, ahead of the next storm system that finally arrives to New England from the west with mild showers by Tuesday and Wednesday. As the storm marches from the Central U.S. to the Northeast, it will carry a burst of snow behind it, and it’s possible we see rain showers end as snow showers or a burst of snow next Thursday depending upon how the storm evolves, but either way, another shot of cold and dry air is expected to start next weekend at the end of the exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.
Some residents in Maine are digging out from the heaviest single snowstorm of the season after over half a foot of snow fell in the suburbs north of Portland to Lewiston Tuesday – not an exceptional snowstorm by New England standards, but this winter, it ranks among the top. The White Mountains of New Hampshire picked up as much as nine inches of fresh powder while farther south, mixed snow and rain left moisture on the roads for some Central New England ice Wednesday morning, but most areas farther south stayed above freezing and now an increasing wind has been quickly drying the roads and sidewalks. Wind will be one of the defining characteristics of our Wednesday with gusts to 45 mph at times, carrying dry air into New England for another distinguishing characteristic of the day: sun! In the mountains, one more upper level disturbance is slated to drop overhead out of Canada, meaning Wednesday morning snow showers will crop up before sun breaks through again. Although the wind may knock out power here and there, widespread damage isn’t expected but it will result in wind chill values about ten degrees colder than actual temperatures. The breeze stays busy overnight Wednesday, though not nearly as strong as daytime Wednesday, but will continue to build cold air into New England and that cold air remains in place with a winter chill both Thursday and Friday as the wind quiets noticeably. A huge area of high pressure – fair weather – will sprawl across the Eastern two-thirds of the United States at the end of this week, locking in mostly dry weather for the Northeast all the way through the weekend, making Wednesday evening or Thursday a great time to wash the car, and setting up some incredible weather for enjoying winter sports – either in the cold temperatures with firm snow on ski trails Thursday and Friday, or softer snow in milder conditions Saturday and Sunday. Next week, a weather pattern featuring a fast-moving, storm-steering jet stream wind overhead returns to New England, raising the chance for showers of rain south and snow or rain north, but likely to come with above normal temperatures for most of the week in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.
For many New Englanders, this is exactly the type of winter storm you ask our First Alert Weather Team for: snow north and rain south – not to mention, a dry morning commute, to boot. As the next storm system moves east – split between one area of low pressure in Southern Quebec and another directly over Southern New England – the cold air is retreating quickly in response to a strengthening southeast breeze that will mean mostly raindrops in Southern New England as precipitation arrives late Tuesday morning and lasts through the evening. In Northern New England, cold air is better established, and another three to six inches of snow are expected to only further improve ski and snowmobile conditions, which have improved dramatically over the last couple of weeks. Of course, Vermont and New Hampshire students are still in school, so dismissals will be a bit dicey with snow falling for particularly Central and Northern parts of both states, but farther south, wet roads are expected for the afternoon and evening drive. Showers exit tonight and we’ll be on guard for at least a couple pockets of black ice to develop toward dawn in Southern New Hampshire and Maine, as well as Northern Massachusetts. Any black ice would melt fairly quickly Wednesday morning with fair sky expected and temperatures rising into the 40s south and 30s north, though a busy westerly wind will drive wind chill values some ten degrees colder, not only making for a brisk day, but also raising the possibility of summit chairlift holds in the mountains where skiers will be eager to take advantage of the fresh snow. No worries – Thursday’s wind will be quieter as cold and dry air takes hold with highs only in the teens and 20s under a fair sky, but that dry air holds on through the weekend as the cold nature of the air slowly relaxes Friday and nearly is extinguished by Saturday and Sunday. Next week our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast focuses on a return to a busy, fast jet stream pattern aloft – steering multiple disturbances our way. This both raises the potential for unsettled weather next week, but also puts New England on the edge of northern cold and southern warmth, so there’s a distinct possibility we see more events featuring mild showers south and snow showers north, but that will depend on storm track and timing with such a big temperature difference from north to south, and placement of that difference dependent upon storm track.
Although a few snow showers accompanied an upper level disturbance Monday morning through the mountains of Northern New England, the trend for our Monday has been toward sunshine with dry air in charge, at least for now. Wispy cirrus clouds – high altitude clouds that portend an approaching storm – will gradually increase Monday evening and night, slowly lowering and thickening through the morning Tuesday. The next storm system, migrating east from the Plains States to New England, crosses our six-state region on Tuesday, but enters air only marginally supportive of snow rather than rain, and too warm for snow in much of Southern New England. It’s all about timing for this one – after the last few storms arrived overnight or during predawn hours during the coldest time of the day in an extended relatively mild winter pattern – this storm arrives after daybreak, giving the atmosphere a chance to warm a bit during the morning. In Vermont and Western New Hampshire into the Berkshires, precipitation arrives first, starting during the morning commute while the air is still cold enough to support snow. As the snow expands east, Northern New England will remain cold enough for mostly snow with only some sleet mixing in late in the day before ending, resulting in over half a foot of new snow for the mountains and a general three to six inches in Northern New England: music to the ears and eyes of skiers and snowmobilers, particularly those on vacation with kiddos on February break. Farther south, perhaps the happy news is temperatures will be mild enough for a mix of snow, sleet and rain when the storm sets in during middle to late morning, with above-freezing temperatures allowing any road treatments to work effectively from Southern New Hampshire through Central Massachusetts and perhaps an inch or two on colder surfaces, with mostly rain expected farther south. Rain, sleet and snow will wrap up during late afternoon to early evening, gone by dinner and giving way to a breezy but milder-than-normal day Wednesday. Wednesday wind may be gusty enough for some chairlift holds, particularly during the morning, to the summits of Northern mountain ski resorts. By Thursday and Friday, the wind quiets a bit but cold air will be in place, also dry in nature and assuring a dry forecast for most of us, even as temperatures moderate this upcoming weekend. By next week, moisture increases ahead of a strong storm in the nation’s midsection, increasing our chance of rain and northern snow showers with temperatures – perhaps not surprisingly at this point – expected to continue running above normal in our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast.
Sunshine has been a commodity in our New England weather, but we’ll start to make up for that this weekend – the trade-off is cold air. Of course, it’s not like those who dislike cold can complain much – in this mild winter, a forecast low temperature of 9° in Boston Friday night would be the coldest temperature this season and, in fact, would end a stretch of 378 days above ten degrees in the City – the third longest such stretch in recorded history, with 1931-32 spanning 658 days and 2001-2003 covering 703 days. In addition to the cold, a gusty Friday wind has been driving wind chill values colder as the day progresses – the morning was the best feeling time of the day – with afternoon and evening wind chill values dropping through the teens into the single digits before actual temperatures bottom out overnight, with some northern suburbs of Boston seeing the thermometer dip below zero and most of Northern and Central New England subzero by dawn. The big difference Saturday won’t be in temperature – at least for most of Southern New England, temperatures will be comparable to Friday afternoon though the North Country will see a bit of a recovery – but the big and noticeable difference will be the absence of wind. A light wind through most of the day will mean wind chill values won’t be too far off the actual highs in the 20s for most and teens north, so impact on the body will certainly be less harsh than Friday. This winter hasn’t really allowed for cold air to take hold for extended periods of time, so by Sunday afternoon high temperatures will already be recovering to near or over 40 degrees, though the changing air will mean more clouds than sun and a few morning flurries or snow showers are possible, particularly in Northern New England. Presidents Day looks quiet next week with the next storm center likely to drag enough warmth and moisture into New England for us to see a possible burst of some wet snow Monday night or Tuesday morning changing to mild rain showers for at least Southern New England as the day wears on…likely to yield to another quick shot of briefly colder weather behind it. By next weekend, at the end of our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast, temperatures look to return above normal, with a chance of showers or mixed showers returning.