By: Chief Meteorologist Eric FisherBy Eric Fisher

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sunset Stop Me When This Sounds Familiar...

Sunset in Pepperell Monday evening, sent in by Maureen. Beautiful!

Hope you enjoyed that whole 8 hour window of comfortable temperatures. While a few towns in SE Mass spiked to 50º Monday afternoon, it’s right back down into the Arctic basement again tonight. This winter it seems like someone left the door open near the North Pole and hasn’t returned to close it. For many, the weather was quite different between your am commute and your pm commute! And by the time the Arctic air has finished settling in, many will have witnessed a 40º temperature drop in ~16 hours. Good times. Overnight lows should feature the single digits and 10s, freezing up any leftover moisture from today’s rain/snow showers. The wind will never completely weaken either, so expect a breeze and wind chill values in the -17 to 5º range. Another tough morning to get out of bed on Tuesday!

tempchange Stop Me When This Sounds Familiar...

Snapshot of 24-hour temp change taken late Monday afternoon. This Arctic front means business! Temperatures absolutely plummet for everyone in its path once it moves through. The whole eastern U.S. will be feeling this one.

The core of the cold is most certainly tomorrow, with 850mb temps near -22ºC. That equates to highs in the 10s for most, and again that pesky, stinging breeze will be active. Wind chill values during the day should stay in the -5 to 10º range. Not exactly run around in shorts weather. But at least we’ll have abundant sunshine to keep us company! That sun will start to fade during the late afternoon/evening as cirrus move in from the south. This should also set up a most excellent sunset, so keep a camera handy 430-5pm. A veil of cirrus almost never disappoints.

warnings Stop Me When This Sounds Familiar...

While we’re sitting in the cold, a pretty rare and widespread winter storm will be impacting the deep south! Winter Storm Warnings stretch from SE Texas to the Carolinas. Yes indeed, a mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain will pour on down across these locales that are quite unaccustomed to winter weather. For many of these spots, especially the Gulf Coast, there is little to zero infrastructure to deal with ice and snow. I lived in Atlanta recently, and we literally just sat there and waited for the snow to melt. It took a week. There were no plows. Imagine having to just sit there and wait! Atlanta has since bought some plows, but places like New Orleans, Destin, Pensacola, and Savannah don’t have much they can do but watch the storm, stay inside, and wait for it to melt (which will probably happen for some on Thursday, the rest on Friday).

snow Stop Me When This Sounds Familiar...

Snow forecast as this ocean storm slides out to the east. Will have to monitor carefully over the next 24 hours…a slight change to the west or east will either ramp up the totals or take them all away.

That storm will slide up the East Coast, and come oh-so-close to us here at home. It looks like the snow shield should graze SE Mass Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning. For now, I’m not thinking about more than some snow showers reaching up toward Boston, and fairly minimal amounts for the Cape & Islands. Most of this also happens overnight, so low on the impact side. But we’ll have to keep a close eye on this in case it jogs just a bit to the east or west. And again it’s so cold out, it all falls as snow! Nantucket will be the big winner…flakes coming down on Easy Street.

friday Stop Me When This Sounds Familiar...

Any snow/clouds will move away quickly Wednesday morning and otherwise expecting a bright and cold day with highs in the 10s and 20s. Thursday, in comparison, should feel rather pleasant as a return flow kicks in and temps jump into the 30s. That’s pretty average for late January, but should feel great after the 10s and 20s! Clouds will start to move back in by late on Thursday, and the next system approaches Thursday night into Friday. This should bring a few flakes, but doesn’t look too impactful at the moment.

nextweek1 Stop Me When This Sounds Familiar...

Confidence on the weekend portion of the forecast is very low. The jet stream will be undergoing a bit of a change and the sharp trough in the east/ridge in the west is expected to take on a more zonal flow. This will set up a storm track near our area, but a fast-moving one with a boundary setting up very nearby. The timing of these impulses and exactly where the boundary sets up will have everything to do with how our weather pans out, and it’s too early for details. What we can say for now is that temps look fairly average and that we will be dealing with a mix of rain and snow at some point, perhaps both of the weekend days. This also has implications for the big game on Sunday! No blockbuster, biting cold, or strange warmth seems to be in play for East Rutherford, NJ. But it definitely may be wet or snowy (depending on the timing of the aforementioned waves of low pressure!). So stay tuned. Sunday is also Groundhog Day…so TBD if Ms. G will see her shadow in Lincoln.

On Twitter a little discussion started this evening about the context of this persistent cold, and a couple viewers sent along great photos from Boston in 1977. An epic winter! Believe it or not, even though we’ve been talking so much about the cold, December ran just a little below average in Boston in 2013 and January is running just about average with a few days to go. The highs have been very high, and the lows have been very low! Shows just what ‘average’ is…the middle ground when the extremes balance out.

comparison Stop Me When This Sounds Familiar...

A great comparison of winters from Tom Niziol, the Winter Weather Expert at The Weather Channel. He points out some of the staggering details from the winter of 1977, which as brutal here too! So as bad as this has been, it can always get worse.


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