Free Roller Coaster Ride
It’s free, it’s been advertised for days and many of you hopped on the temperature roller coaster yesterday. The ride has begun and it’s going to get wild. Thanks to the mass of arctic air, a fresh snow cover and diminishing wind, radiational cooling initiated the chill thrill last night as temperatures plunged into subzero territory over 96% of New England. Boston’s +2 was 6 degrees short of the record -4 set in 1981. The coldest places closer to 15 below zero or lower were located in sheltered valley or lowland spots where the radiation was at a premium. Following the frigid start, it warmed up 25 to almost 40 degrees today with bright sunshine! Highs in the middle 20s actually felt quite nice especially after the brisk morning wind slackened. With a southwesterly breeze in place tonight, there will not be much of a dip in the roller coaster as the temperature holds almost steady in the urban centers and drops down a few notches in the valleys. As milder air continues to stream into the Northeast tomorrow, add-on another 10-12 degrees from today’s highs and you end up with 36-40 degrees for the maximum readings. It should warm up to 40-45 by dawn on Monday with additional warming to 48-54 by late Monday morning. Then hold on tight for the plunge to the 30s by 6pm Monday then to the middle teens by dawn Tuesday with a slight rise to the middle teens at midday. Are you thrilled by this ride yet?
Expect limited sunshine tomorrow as the sky turns out mostly cloudy. There is a slight risk of some spotty freezing rain across northwestern Worcester County northwestward later in the day and tomorrow evening. Later Monday night, some showers will cross the area and briefly, some of the rain could be heavier. This is associated with a warm front approaching from the southwest. There is a risk of some foggy areas as well into Monday morning. Most but not all signs are favorable for a wedge of warmth to bust into the region late Monday morning so I am still sticking with my projected highs of the lower 50s before a sharp cold front arrives around 2-3 pm in eastern New England. Brisk southerly winds will shift to strong, gusty westerly winds of gale force following the cold frontal passage. The next parcel of frigid air is charging into the north central states this evening from northwestern Canada. So far, Winnipeg, Manitoba is having its coldest winter in 88 year! International Falls, MN had one of its coldest Decembers on record and will be a frozen tundra at -30 later tonight and tomorrow night! Brrrrrrrr! This chunk of chill will dive into the Midwest then stream eastward. Attacking us from the west, this air mass will have less sting than if it rushed in from Ontario and Quebec via the so-called Montreal Express. There will be some slight modification so we’ll end up with 14-18 degrees on Tuesday versus 8-14 degrees. I know, that is not much consolation. Thereafter, the cold will ease a bit with a weak system generating some light snow or flurries here on Thursday. High pressure should build in to supply sunshine and near 32 degrees on Friday. Many folks are already inquiring about the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium next Saturday evening. Presently, I am not highly confident of the forecast 7 days out because there is a conflict of guidance next weekend. The more reliable model is advertising dry and relatively mild conditions in the range of 30-35 degrees. Other solutions favor mild but wet conditions. Hopefully, the reliable version wins along with the Pats!
For the skiers and riders, great slope conditions exist featuring mainly powder and packed powder. Always be prepared for any icy and hard-packed patches due to windblown surfaces and skier traffic especially on the steeps. It will be more comfortable on the mountains tomorrow with highs in the 20s versus the wicked chill this morning. Some of the northern mountains will have a bit of snow and mixed precipitation mainly after the ski day is over tomorrow followed by some rain Monday as a surge of warmer air rides well to the north. The good news is that a huge volume of rain is not likely but with the deep freeze following, a crusty surface layer may result. Consequently, the groomers will be out to crunch it up and spruce up the slopes. Additionally, the ideal snow making conditions of today will return again late Monday and a few snow showers will also occur. There are no signs of a big snow storm for the resorts at this time and that is exactly what is needed to open up all of the terrain especially the glades and shoots. Nevertheless, you can find plenty of open territory for your skiing and riding pleasure. Dress smartly in layers, ski in control and be courteous on the slopes.
Danielle Niles will post her thought tomorrow morning and I shall return later in the day.