There’s just something about autumn sunsets. The lower sun angle helps create such magical coloring in the sky, and it helps that we’ve had perfectly timed rain/snow showers and clearing lines lately! It seems like every day the stars (or more accurately water droplets) have aligned as the sun dips below the horizon. Today was a prime example.
Courtesy: Michael Kane
There was also some excitement about all the ‘hail’ and ‘sleet’ that was falling today. Well folks, it was neither! Those funky ice pellets that came down from a few clouds were ‘graupel.’ What in the world is the difference? The way they’re all formed.
– Hail is formed when super-cooled (below 32º) water droplets are carried upwards into cold air, and then freeze. This process continues until updrafts can no longer hold them, and they fall to the earth.
– Sleet is formed when a layer of subfreezing air is sitting at the surface, but it’s actually warmer up above where the precipitation is forming. The raindrops freeze before striking the ground, and you get sleet.
– Graupel is formed when snowflakes bang around into super-cooled water droplets in a cloud. The result looks kind of like dip ‘n dots.
Well all that stuff is gone now, and we’re looking at mainly clear skies through the first part of Saturday. Temperatures will dip down into the 20s for many Friday night, with some low 30s for the Cape, Islands, and downtown Boston. The wind will be slow to calm down, so a breeze will make it feel quite chilly for all the big football and soccer games with wind chill in the 20s.
The early risers will enjoy a bright and beautiful start to Saturday, but an advancing warm front will drape a blanket of cirrus and mid-level clouds across the area. In actual impact, it just means a milky appearance the sky and a cool feel with temperatures staying in the upper 40s for most. Just a little cooler than the average high for this time of year, which is about 54º.
A weak low will pass across northern New England Saturday night and Sunday, but without much fanfare. The best chance at rain and snow showers will be across VT, NH, and ME with this one, and most of it will come in the form of light snow. We may squeeze out a few sprinkles or flurries during that stretch, but nothing you really need to worry about bringing an umbrella around for.
You can actually take advantage of the chill and some new snow by heading north! Loon Mountain and Bretton Woods, at the very least, are open this weekend. I’m sure quite a few others are as well. Just call ahead and enjoy some early runs! Next week looks plenty cold enough to make some solid snow, so the chances of pre-Thanksgiving action is pretty high.
Veteran’s Day (Monday) is looking relatively tranquil for an planned observances, but the wind should start picking up by the afternoon. We’re watching a strong cold front that will blast through Monday night and bring a winter-time air mass down from Canada. The ECMWF timing is slower with this front, but I’m taking more of a GFS timing and more progressive pattern in general. The ECMWF has had a fairly miserable performance in the Northeast for the past few months, and has been extremely inconsistent lately. One thing that *is* consistent is that all models agree on the cold for next week.
The 850mb temperatures below help tell the story. A big piece of cold air breaking off from the polar vortex and heading on into the U.S. This cold air will likely end up being shallow, so as the front blows through we could get some decent snow showers/squalls to go along with it! Worth watching, because if it lines up with Tuesday morning’s commute….well you know how the first snow of the year tends to go.
GFS 850mb Temperatures by Tuesday morning
Highs will stay in the 30s for the most part both Tuesday and Wednesday, with overnight lows likely heading on down into the 10s for some. The core of the cold will actually miss us and head south. Morning temps on Wednesday could be in the 20s all the way down to the Gulf! But since I’m sticking with the more progressive pattern, the real depths of the cold shouldn’t stick around for too long. By Friday we should be much more seasonable again.
GFS Wednesday am low temperatures
There’s little downstream blocking nearby to cage in any systems or force them to come up the coast, and so for now any coastal development that may form in the middle of next week should stay out to sea. Chances are high *something* big will develop, since we’ll have a pretty strong baroclinic zone between cold air and mild ocean air. But the GFS has been very consistent in an OTS solution, and the ECMWF has been a mess. The Canadian model goes back and forth. And as for the ensembles, the majority are out to sea too. You can’t write something off 5-6 days in advance, but I wouldn’t rush out for a ‘French Toast Emergency’ kit just yet!