Frigid Air & Snow Ahead. Sound Familiar?
Programming note – If you’re a weather geek, check out ‘WeatherBrains’ tonight at 930pm ET. I’ll be making an appearance and chatting with host James Spann, a renowned Meteorologist from Birmingham, Alabama. Link to WeatherBrains is here.
Frigid but gorgeous sunset from Jim Hogan in Methuen on Monday
It may be cold, but the low sun angle still provides beautiful sunrises and sunsets if you bundle up. Jim in Methuen sent this sunset photo in tonight over the beautiful (and icy) Merrimack River. That brings up a good point as we head into the depths of December. Our recent cold snap is freezing over a lot of lakes, ponds, and rivers. Be extra careful keeping an eye on the kids, as I’m sure they’re itching to get a good ice hockey game going. The ice isn’t all that thick yet in many spots. Here’s a good guide from the Department of Natural Resources on what’s safe and what isn’t.
Source: Department of Natural Resources
Tonight will go a long way toward thickening up a lot of that ice. The gusty winds of Monday will diminish as high pressure shifts overhead, and with mainly clear skies and a new snowpack this is a wonderful recipe for radiational cooling (you may have another word for it). Temperatures will drop off into the single digits, and some of the valleys should go subzero tonight. The dense, cold air settles into all the low spots. Near the coast, the low 10s look more likely. Cold any way you slice it!
This sets up our next snow event. A clipper currently traveling through the Great Lakes will dive to our south and start to deepen tomorrow. Snow starts to develop locally between 11a and 1p, then picks up for mid-afternoon and the evening. A Winter Weather Advisory has been posted by the National Weather Service from 9a-9p (earlier start time for WMass).
Totals are generally not something that would typically get *too* much attention, but the timing is the problem here. The steadiest/heaviest snow will be right when everyone wants to start heading home from work, and in the most densely populated part of the state. That’s never a recipe for much fun. I’d certainly plan to slow your roll tomorrow, and also for the possibility of early dismissals at many local schools. Could be a pretty ugly ride, especially along I-95 (esp northbound from Boston) 128 and I-495, as well as the eastern half of the Pike.
The other issue here is that typically as these storms deepen near our coast, they can be dynamically drive and develop bands of heavier snow. This is a wildcard factor for tomorrow. What that means is that some highly localized areas could see an extra 1-3″ of accumulation, and that visibility would be greatly decreased in any banding. There could even be a few claps of thunder. But it’s a very uncertain part of the forecast, and there’s a decent chance that that scenario will not play out. Just know that it’s a *possibility*, and the best thing to do will be to check back in with us tomorrow or monitor the radar app on your smartphone to make sure you’re not heading out into a standstill on the roads. Biggest risk area for this will be along I-95 from Boston northward during the evening as the storm bombs out and starts the process of becoming a monster in the North Atlantic.
What starts as snow in SE Mass will start to change over to rain, especially over Cape Cod & The Islands. This keeps your accumulation at less than 3″, and less than 1″ in the islands. Not a big deal for you with this one. The last of the snow should depart the North Shore and southern New Hampshire by midnight. But the wind will start to how Tuesday night as the storm continues to deepen and pull away. I could see some gusts to 40mph across much of New England.
Get us some warmth!! It was 152 hours at 5pm Monday. Next shot at heading above the freezing mark in the Woo will be Thursday or Friday.
After that, we get a warming trend! Well, not much of one. But hey it’s been so cold we’ll take anything. Tuesday will be the 11th straight day of below average temperatures in Boston, the longest such stretch all year. Wednesday and Thursday may follow suit and extend that streak. On Wednesday, a gusty NW wind won’t help matters and keep things feeling very chilly. But Thursday, even in the 30s, should be more tolerable with lighter winds. Friday we’ll manage to break 40 for the first time in quite a while, which will lead to some melting of our currently growing snow cover.
The weekend, as of now, looks a bit shaky. Some showers may graze us on Friday (best shot is to the north), and on Saturday that same front may hang out and keep things gray, damp, & cool. I could envision areas of freezing drizzle somewhere nearby on Saturday, but it’s too far out to tell for sure. Most models keep us right on the edge of warm and cold air into Sunday. Quite frankly, our highs could be in the mid 50s or mid 30s on Sunday. I’d usually lean to the colder side this time of year, especially considering all the snow & cold locally and to our north. Warm fronts have a tough time pushing through that. But we’ll see. No reason to go canceling plans yet! But at the very least, it will be doing something wintry up north and likely something wet around here to end the weekend before moving out on Monday.