Weather Cycles

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WBZ-TV's Barry Burbank

WBZ-TV’s Barry Burbank

The cyclical nature of weather has been definitely demonstrated so far this winter. The temperature swings have been astounding and, at times, dramatic in just a matter of hours but recently we have been experiencing a lengthier spell of mild weather. In fact, following a frigid first week of the month, the mean temperature for this January has now flipped to a fraction above average thanks to the thaw! That will all change because it appears harsh arctic air perhaps record-breaking in places will make us shiver again later next week and especially the following week! As explained in some of my previous blogs, the coldest part of the winter, on average, occurs from January 20-25 and it will be close this winter as I project that the coldest part of this winter may occur late January 25 through January 27. This arctic attack may produce the first subzero temperature in Boston since January 24, 2011 when it was down to a bone-chilling -2!

It’s a guarantee that nasty numbing cold is destined to return but the potential for snow remains more uncertain. There will be numerous bundles of energy streaming through the jet stream over the next few to several weeks. The changing speed and intensity of the many impulses will be monitored closely for creating storm development. At this time, the first formation will be happening in the next 12 hours. A wave of low pressure will redevelop over Long Island and the South Coast of New England early tomorrow. Favorable ascent should result in a slug of precipitation starting just prior to daybreak and lasting for a few hours. The main action will likely exit toward midday with any showers giving way to breaks of sunshine in a dry slot over southeastern New England tomorrow afternoon. The phase of precipitation should be primarily liquid from the North Shore through Boston into Metro West southward. Wet snow is more likely from far western Middlesex County into northern Worcester County and northward into northern New England. Nothing more than a coating to an inch is expected near Worcester ranging up to an inch or two near the Route 2 corridor of Worcester County ranging up to 3-4 inches from southwestern NH into the western Lakes Region to more than 4″ and perhaps up to 6″ and isolated 8″ amounts from east central NH into southern and central ME excluding southern York County. After falling to 28-35 degrees tonight, it will warm up to 37-43 tomorrow. The next weak perturbation will distribute varying amounts of cloudiness and limited sunshine across the region on Sunday when the west-southwesterly wind will be brisk and the temperatures top out in the upper 30s.

Looking ahead, the first mass of arctic air will push into the northern mountains late Sunday then progress across southern New England on Monday. It will be introduced by some flurries and perhaps a few isolated snow squalls and the temperature will fall from near 34 at midday into the 20s in the afternoon. After that, it may fail to exceed 20 degrees on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday! The next intensifying impulse  associated with the next parcel of frigid air will be diving across the eastern Great Lakes and heading for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Wednesday and Thursday. Presently, it appears that this feature will pop a storm on the New Jersey coast which will move quite quickly eastward out over the Atlantic. It will tap moisture and likely release some fluffy snow across at least southern New England. Without any massive blocking in the North Atlantic, this clipper will be progressive so the duration of snow will be limited but a few to several inches of powder cannot be ruled out. Keep in mind that this is not highly confident yet since it is 6 days away! In any event, it may briefly turn milder next weekend before the coldest air of the season roars our way later on January 25th. Some forecast revision is probable with this solution as we approach the actual event later next week.

For those who go skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling, there will be some fresh snow falling over mainly northern New England tomorrow as described earlier in this blog. A whopping snow storm is needed to open up all of the glades, shoots, Nordic trails and more snowmobile trails. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a blockbuster storm so far this winter up north and conditions are not favorable for a snow blitz yet. Nevertheless, lots of snow making has resulted in packed powder and loose granular surfaces for your on-mountain pleasure. Grooming continues this weekend so get ready to have some good fun. Always beware of changing surfaces where some wind slab and icy, hard-packed patches can suddenly show up due to traffic and drifting. High temperatures will be dropping from the lower to middle 30s tomorrow to the lower 20s on Sunday and teens to single numbers on Monday across the northern resorts. Please be courteous and safe on the trails.

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

Have a happy and safe MLK holiday weekend.

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