It would be an understatement to say it’s been a weird run since the start of winter. In December it was all going according to plan. Some snow flying, colder temps, that typical holiday feel. Great conditions on the slopes to start the season. Everyone wins! Then January brought a big league thaw that had us dreaming of spring for a couple weeks. Then February rolls up to the scene and dumps 2-3 feet of snow over 10 days. Oh and then it hit 70 degrees a couple times, crushed some all-time records, and the crocus bloomed. March arrives and throws arctic blasts all over the place and tosses in a blizzard for good measure. So far, it’s been colder than January and February. Okay.
At least it’s not boring? But it can be frustrating, and that’s probably the emotion most will feel over the next 7-10 days. But the equinox….
First up, the latest arctic installment. This one isn’t as cold as the past couple, but I think we can all agree it’s cold enough. The front blows through Wednesday morning and halts temperatures in their place, sitting in the upper 20s to mid 30s for most of the day even with strong late-March sunshine overhead. Gusty winds won’t help matters with the peak gusts in the 35-50mph range out of the northwest. This isn’t at the level of the past two big wind events which brought down numerous trees, but a few could still topple in winds of this strength. The multi-year drought has weakened a lot of trees and it’s easier to bring them down than it has been in the past. Those winds will also keep wind chill values in the single digits and teens for most during the day. We’ve had colder this winter, but an uncomfortable day.
By Thursday morning, we’re in the single digits and teens for actual air temps with wind chill near zero. Just what you expect on the doorstep of April, right? I don’t think any records are in jeopardy but layering up is the way to go. While still breezy on Thursday, winds will begin to diminish as high pressure builds in. And here’s a silver lining for you – we’ll get 100% sunshine and our first 7pm sunset of the season to boot. It’s the little things.
You also may be hearing some buzz about the weekend. Overall, this is a pretty familiar battle that will set up across New England. A front pushes in on Friday and brings with it some rain/snow showers with perhaps some minor accumulations of an inch or less. But on Saturday, an area of cold/strong high pressure will begin to drift over eastern Canada. This, in turn, shoves the front back where it came from. So we may get a few rain showers and drizzle Saturday, but the overall trend will be for colder and drier air to move back in. One of those types of days where it’s 70 degrees in New Jersey with 30s & 40s here. Lucky us. At least it’s looking like a good day for many New England ski areas as the cold builds in.
On Sunday I think that cold and dry air may be able to hold the front off for the majority of the day. But by late afternoon or evening, we may start to get precipitation moving back in our direction. The question is, what will be falling from the sky? These types of setups are rarely good for big snowfall, but ice will be a risk. Warmer air will be pouring in aloft but cold air will be draining down into the area from the north-northeast. So while if you were casually looking at the pattern you’d think it would be warm here, alas that low level flow will keep us close to freezing. So an area of sleet, freezing rain, and snow will try to push in late Sunday, and it looks like the main batch would be on Monday. This could make for a pretty sloppy start to the work week.
If you look aloft, you’d think this ridge would bring us all kinds of warm spring weather. But the northeast flow at the surface has other ideas.
There’s even a chance that another wave could move in on Tuesday and do the same thing. Overall, ugly weather for the final week of March and I’m not seeing any significant warm-ups ahead. One of those patterns where a good chunk of the country is warming up and we’re stuck in the muck across New England. Probably some sort of weather karma comeuppance for the warmth in January and February. It also makes it extremely likely that this will be the first month of below average temperatures in Boston since last April!