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A Crazy Winter!

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WBZ-TV's Barry Burbank

WBZ-TV’s Barry Burbank

2013_Current_Temps_LOCALAt the end of November, I posted my winter outlook which called for a below average mean temperature for the season with near to above average snowfall but less than the 63.4″ of last winter. Did you enter the WBZ AccuWeather Snowfall Contest? So far, officially, Boston has received 27″ with some places on the North Shore over 40″! Where is it? Depending upon your viewpoint, thanks or no thanks to the crazy gyrations and oscillations of temperature over the past several weeks. That was another main point of the winter outlook- the high potential for big fluctuations in temperature and what a roller coaster ride it has been so far. It has ranged from a couple subzero mornings to near record highs. We were shivering late last week then a mini-thaw struck on Monday with Boston’s high of 56 degrees. Beantown’s high of 59 degrees today was 3 degrees short of the record of 62 degrees set in 1975 on this date! Most of the WBZ WeatherBug Stations were 55-60! Between those two peaks of amazing warmth, there was an arctic blast last Tuesday when the afternoon temperature failed to exceed 15 degrees in most locations! What is next- the deep freeze again? No, it looks like we will have a longer January thaw lasting a few days followed by some seasonable temperatures the second half of the week. Thereafter, we will be on guard as more frigid air reloads in Canada and attempts to attack the second half of the month. Additionally, we will be closely monitoring stratospheric warming which appears to be underway. This is the key to potential eventual North Atlantic blocking that increases the risk for snowstorms in the Northeast. It is a tricky and paramount factor in determining the flavor of winter here in New England. Other coincident factors in play may contribute to the development of this blocking so in the next couple of weeks, we should be able to get a better handle on how stormy the second half of winter could be.

2013_Model Satrad 72hrIn the near term, expect showery rains of varying intensity this evening with a trend toward decreasing coverage as time passes. The heaviest rain should exit Gillette Stadium near kickoff with a few more passing showers tapering off during the first half of the game. Interestingly, when the Pats hosted the Colts for the AFC Divisional Round in 2004, it was 25 degrees and snowing at Gillette and the Pats won 20-3. The temperatures will hold in the rather humid 50s to near 60 through much of the evening then drop after midnight following the cold frontal passage. There will not be a flash freeze. Dawn will debut in the upper 30s to lower 40s with some clearing taking place. Yet, with ample sunshine and a spell of passing patches of clouds, it really will not warm up too much tomorrow with highs averaging around 44 degrees. The air will be much drier and the westerly wind will gust to 35 mph. A ridge of high pressure will build off to the south of New England resulting in a southwesterly wind and a feel of spring again on Monday with highs in the lower 50s. Sunshine may become dimmed by increasing afternoon cloudiness. The forecast becomes uncertain for Tuesday into early Thursday. It isn’t completely clear if there will be some phasing of perturbations in the upper air flow. It could result in a stronger ocean storm which might release a few to several inches of snow later Wednesday into early Thursday. That solution cannot be ruled out but it is probably more likely that one piece of energy will cause a period of light rain especially over southeastern MA part of Tuesday then the next piece arrives later to create a spell of light snow late Wednesday. Some tweaking of this part of the forecast is quite likely. After that, seasonable temperatures of daily highs in the upper 30s is on tap late in the week and starting the weekend. An arctic invasion may occur late in the MLK holiday weekend.

For the skiers, riders, and snowmobilers, expect changing conditions on the trails. There are variable temperatures across northern New England with rain falling even on the highest mountains with the Mount Washington Observatory recording a high of 40 degrees! Consequently, primary surfaces are wet and some freezing will occur late tonight. There may be a few snow showers scattered over the northern mountains tomorrow with temperatures in the upper 20s to middle 30s with a strong westerly wind. Grooming will commence. There is hope for some accumulating snow on the trails on Wednesday. The resorts need a blowout snowstorm to open up all of the terrain like the glades, shoots, and non-snowmaking slopes. That is not in the forseeable future but colder air the second half of the week means snowmaking will resume.

Danielle Niles posts her thoughts tomorrow morning and I shall return later in the day.

Enjoy your Sunday.

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