By: Chief Meteorologist Eric FisherBy Eric Fisher


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sunsetbh

Tuesday evening’s pale hues as seen from our WeatherBug camera atop Blue Hill Observatory

It’s winter. It’s supposed to be cold. So while it was a treat to run around in shorts for Christmas and let kids use their new bikes as soon as the wrapping paper was torn off, it’s time for a reality check. A mild month is ending on a cold note as we put a bow on 2014 and kick off a new year.

highs

Tuesday’s highs across the area

I was surprised to look back at some stats and see that Tuesday was the 2nd coldest day in Boston since mid-March! The only one colder was December 8th with a high just one degree lower (29F). Personally I didn’t think it felt all that bad. Shows you what a difference maker the wind is. Without much of it, it just felt like your run of the mill winter day. On its heels is possibly the coldest night of the season for Boston (and some surrounding towns). Single digits and 10s are likely, helping to freeze up area ponds. It’s a great week to flood the backyard ice rink.

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Even as it ends on a cold note, December will go down as a very mild month. It won’t be inside the Top 10 of warmest on record, but certainly much warmer versus average. Tuesday was the first ‘below average’ day of temps in over a week. Expect Wednesday’s highs to be about the same as what we saw on Tuesday – mid 20s to around 30, with some low 30s possible for the South Coast & Islands. New Year’s Eve is looking nearly identical to last year. Mainly dry, mid 10s to low 20s as the clock strikes midnight, and possibly a few ocean-effect snow showers for the Vineyard and Nantucket. Nothing too out of the ordinary for us, but make sure to layer up before leaving the house.

firstnight

First Night is looking a lot colder than Christmas on a National level too. Almost the entire country is expected to see below average temperatures around midnight, with the exception of Florida. They are chuckling at us as they often do – there have been some record highs set over the past couple of days there (in the 80s). Flip flops instead of L.L. Bean boots for their NYE parties.

ustemps

It may also be an interesting NYE for the southwest. There’s a chance Vegas sees snowflakes flying right on the strip (they’re more frequent in the mountains around Vegas, but snow down on the main drag is much less typical). The city itself hasn’t seen accumulating snow for 6 years, so it’ll be interesting to see how this one pans out. The latest data indicates the snow may miss them just a little to the east, so it’ll be a close call. Either way plenty of cold in that part of the country with some record lows possible, especially in SoCal where anyone sleeping out for the Rose Bowl is going to be shivering. Pasadena may hit the freezing mark, which by their standards is not fun. It’s the coldest air of the year to reach that area.

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Back to our neck of the woods now. Have a polar plunge on Thursday morning? An invigorating way to start the new year, although you better have some warm blankets ready for the quick run out of the water. Air temps should be in the 10s to around 20 in the morning on Thursday, plus a gusty breeze which will make it feel more like the single digits and 10s. Water temps for your wintertime dip should be close to 40F.

Cold weather sticks around for the extended period with low/mid 30s on Friday, mainly mid 30s on Saturday, and a brief window of 40s on Sunday before we shoot back down with an arctic blast bringing some more very cold air for Monday/Tuesday. It appears that the cold should sustain itself until at least mid-January at this point.

nashoba

The scene at Nashoba Valley Ski Area on Tuesday. Even here in southern New England we have some great snowmaking weather.

The chill is certainly some more upbeat news for Northeast ski areas. They took a beating last week with the warmth and rain, even after building up a huge base from mid-November until mid-December. The guns are blazing now, and you couldn’t ask for better conditions. Overnight lows for most of the mountains are in the 0s and 10s all week, plus we’ve got very dry air. Even on a busy vacation week with the slopes getting a lot of use, this should prove helpful to get back on the right track.

How about some natural stuff? May be in the cards this weekend. Although there’s still a lot of uncertainty regarding the exact track, it’s looking likely that a storm will impact the region Saturday evening through early Sunday. As it stands now, it looks like a thump of snow changing over to mix and then rain for areas around Boston. The majority of it will likely end up rain near the South Coast, Cape, and Islands as milder air floods in off the ocean.

weekend

GFS forecast for Saturday night – main low heading toward the Great Lakes but some transfer to the coast. Still some big question marks on how this one will pan out, with most of those questions based on how energy will eject out of the southwestern U.S. later in the week. Source: Weatherbell

However, this storm at least has high pressure off to its north and east. This should keep colder air in place for a few hours, then gradually give way from south to north. A pure snowstorm (without mixing) is possible for northern New England. In any case, the chances for snow are much higher there. For us, it’s a question of whether or not secondary development takes over near the coast, where that low tracks, and how strong it is. It doesn’t appear to be the type of storm where warm air floods right in and takes over…although our lack of any snow cover won’t help matters. We’ll be watching this one over the next couple of days to get a better idea of what to expect…but I’d wager on at least *some* wintry precipitation -which is more than we can say for December!

recordfutility

FYI – there have been several years where no measurable snow has fallen in Boston

Eric Fisher

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