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Roller Coaster Temperatures

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The temperature has been below 32 for several days. Officially in Boston, the freeze started at 10pm last Sunday so as of 7pm this evening, it’s up to 141 hours and still counting. There will be about 51 more hours before it goes above freezing. Despite the chill, this month is still running more than 2 degrees above the average so it is a long way off from the brutal cold of January 2004 when that month was 8.6 degrees below average. Brrrrr! Furthermore, I am anticipating a brief but rather dramatic warmup just ahead. The 61 recorded on January 14 COULD be duplicated this coming Wednesday January 30! It’s just a one-day stand and we’ll be right back to bad habits again at the end of the week for the start of February.

Tonight is just another night to shiver with temperatures falling to the middle teens in Boston and down to 6-12 in outlying areas as the wind continues to chill the air and make it feel a bit below zero at times. The sky will be mostly clear and moonlit as the Full Wolf Moon occurs at 11:38pm. Tomorrow will be bright and sunny as a ridge of high pressure builds in from the west. The west-northwesterly wind will still blow at 10-25 mph then abate later in the afternoon. Expect highs ranging from the lower 20s in the Worcester Hills to near 25 just north and west of Boston to about 27 in the city to the upper 20s over southeastern MA. The ridge will shift over the region tomorrow night then track offshore Monday morning. This will enable the advancement of a warm frontal boundary coming in from the Ohio Valley and the Great Lakes. Ahead of this axis, a strip of light snow will break out and impact this area from west to east Monday afternoon and evening. It appears that sufficient moisture is available in this overrunning pattern to produce a widespread snowfall of 1 up to 3 inches. There could be a bit less on the South Coast and a bit more over central NH into southwestern ME. It will likely impact the homebound commute later Monday afternoon especially by early evening. On top of the snow, there could be a mixing with and changing to some sleet and freezing rain. The precipitation should taper off after midnight.

Tuesday will be a transition day into milder air with temperatures rising gradually above 40 and heading for 45 later in the afternoon or the evening when the boundary passes to the north. This sets the stage for a dramatic warmup on Wednesday. With a strengthening south-southwesterly flow of air at all levels, a surge of warmth will occur right up the entire eastern seaboard. Most parameters should be in place to boost the temperatures at least up to the range of 55-60! I think there is a reasonable chance that the 61 of January 14 will be repeated. With any sunshine, it could rise higher to 62-65 but the amount of low-level cloudiness will probably spoil this potential. Meantime, a sharp cold front will be pressing eastward from NY and PA. A developing wave of low pressure along this boundary is destined to ramp up a ribbon of rainfall to rates of moderate to heavy as it shifts into New England. Unfortunately, this warm and wet weather will prevail across ski country as well. The cold front will push offshore just after midnight and Thursday will be windy and much colder again. Initially, the temperatures will fall to near 40 by dawn then rise slightly to 43-45 by noon then drop back into the 30s as Thursday afternoon progresses. Looking ahead, another mass of arctic air will be surging out of Canada but it should not quite match the chill of the past few days. Nonetheless, anticipate highs in the 25-30 range next Friday and Saturday. A couple of disturbances will be passing through but nothing more than spotty snow showers are predicted for Friday and perhaps again on the first Sunday of February.

For the skiers, riders, and snowmobilers, conditions are generally good with packed powder and loose granular primary surfaces. There is some frozen granular and there will be places in various resorts that will be scratched off and icy especially on steeper, high traffic locations. You can still have a blast on the slopes even in frigid weather with proper layered attire, goggles, gaiters, a face mask, helmet and warm mittens. Make sure to keep all flesh covered and take breaks to avoid frostbite. Overnight grooming makes runs in the morning the best. The good news is that the presence of arctic air all week has enabled the resorts to efficiently produce a lot of snow. Many of the great steep glades and other non-snowmaking trails are closed from place to place due to the thin cover of snow. The bad news is that there are no big natural snowstorms in sight. With that said, I am pleased to see the potential for a few inches of snow late Monday and Monday night. Unfortunately, that will be followed by a warmup through the 30s into the 40s with rain later Wednesday. The brief thaw will be chased out by more arctic air from Canada. Obviously, conditions will be in a state of flux in the week ahead. Have fun but be cautious.

Joe Joyce delivers his latest WBZ AccuWeather Forecast in the morning and I shall follow later in the day.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

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