By Terry Eliasen, Meteorologist, WBZ-TV Exec. Weather Producer
BOSTON (CBS) – How’s this for a forecast? Record cold and a potentially historic March snowstorm … got your attention yet?
If winter were to end today, how would you remember it? I think most would say something like; “mild,” “easy,” or perhaps “What winter?”
Well a wise man once said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” and our lasting memory from the winter of 2016-2017 may be yet to come.
Ok ok, slow the hype train. We are still nearly 100 hours away from any potential storm next week, so let’s start with what we know for sure. It is going to be REAL cold this weekend. Remember last weekend? Well, we are about to do that all over again, but this time perhaps even slightly colder!
Arctic cold, literally right out of Santa’s backyard is going to pour into New England over the weekend.
Our first shot at a record comes Saturday. Currently we are forecasting a daytime high in Boston of 21 degrees. That would beat the old record of 22 degrees set waaaaay back in 1874. One fly in that ointment could come if we don’t “cool down” fast enough tonight. There is a chance that our official high for Saturday may come just after midnight as temperatures are dropping through the 20s.
Next record run comes Sunday morning. The lowest temperatures ever recorded for the date in Boston is 7 degrees back in 1900. I would say we have a slight chance at beating that. Our current low temperature forecast for Boston Sunday is 9 degrees. In the suburbs, even colder. We’re talking a few degrees below zero to a few degrees above…what month is this?
Finally, Sunday afternoon we will only “warm up” into the mid 20s, again another chance at a record low maximum temperature (current record for Boston is 25 degrees set in 1984).
And if those frigid temperatures aren’t enough to get your attention, the wind sure will be. Wind chill readings will be below zero for most of the day on Saturday and for the first half of the day on Sunday. Yowza.
And then comes that little storm threat next week. Right now we are focused on the Tuesday through early Wednesday timeframe. This has the potential to be a classic.
The storm comes out of the Midwest, redevelops off the Carolina’s and rapidly intensifies (bombogenesis anyone?), and slams New England and perhaps the entire Northeast with blinding snows and powerful winds.
Seriously, if this thing comes together and takes an ideal track (a solution that is very plausible right now), this would be an historic March snowstorm for the entire Northeast. Potential for widespread foot-plus snowfall, damaging/prolonged northeast winds, and some serious coastal flooding.
Now having said all that, it is only Friday and A LOT can and will happen in the atmosphere between now and next Tuesday.
What we do know is that a major coastal/ocean storm is likely to form early next week. What is yet to be determined is the size and strength of the storm and its exact track.
Still on the table:
A “coast hugger”: A storm that literally rides right up I95 would mean snow initially but a change to rain along the coastline, serious rain/snow line issues
A glancing blow: A storm takes a track just outside the “Benchmark” of 40/70 and our coastline gets a glancing blow of wind and snow, the majority of the craziness stays to our east and out to sea
A direct hit: Like we said earlier, potential for historic-type snowfall for March and significant wind and coastal damage
Only time will tell. So when will we know? Typically within 48 hours of a big event like this we start honing in and throwing out snowfall projections. So I would say by Sunday afternoon and evening we hope to have a model consensus, or something close to it.
As always, stay with WBZ-TV and CBSBoston.com for frequent updates!
Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ