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Dry and cold through Friday, weekend storm likely

Posted by David Epstein  December 11, 2013 06:40 AM

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First things first, there is some black ice around the area this morning so take it slow on the roads this morning. Second, it's quite cold, but not bitter. Temperatures are in the 20s this morning and will only recover to the lower to mid 30s this afternoon north to south. Third, even colder air reaches the area for the next couple of days, but it's not bitter cold. Lastly, there is a good potential for a significant nor'easter this weekend. Details to follow.

I'll be updating the forecast as it changes on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

A few days of calm weather

After two days of minor weather events, I am ready for some dry weather for a few days. Although neither "storm" was a big deal, it did give me a chance to reuse my winter forecasting skills which are in for a bigger workout this weekend. totals.png The forecast worked out well, with the exception being much of the Cape and Islands where the ground remained too warm for the snow to stick. You can see the map of accumulations as reported early this morning here.

There is an arctic front poised to move through the area later today. This is going to usher in colder air for tomorrow and Friday. The core of the arctic air mass won't make it this far, but temperatures will be some 15-20 degrees below average Thursday. This time of the year Boston is typically in the lower 40s and the ground hasn't frozen yet.
As I look out this morning and see about an inch of snow on the ground, I am thinking at this point, the ground could potentially remain white until the end of the year. That type of thing is tough to predict, but with more snow and ice on the way and then colder weather after, winter is taking hold early.

Temperatures today will top 32F along the coast and points south of Boston, hold near freezing just inland while staying in the 20s in the Worcester hills. Tomorrow and Friday most spots stay in the 20s.

There will be plenty of sunshine to start today, with a period of clouds this afternoon before it clears again overnight. Thursday and Friday look sunny, but as I mentioned, cold.

Weekend storm
So by now you have heard there is a potential storm this weekend. Presently, I think it's likely to happen. The questions that remain are around when the snow starts, does it change to rain or ice, and how much of everything do we receive?

Nearly all of these unknowns will be answered in the next couple of days and are based on the exact tract of the center of the storm. A difference of 40 miles in the track of the low pressure area, could mean a difference of 6 or more inches of snow for a given area.

The image below is called a meteogram and shows temperature and precipitation trends for the next week. I have highlighted some of the more interesting pieces of this chart. The chart also can show wind and pressure, but I have not put those variables on here. I'll have many more specific details on the storm throughout the week.
meteorgram satu.jpg
I still feel that towards the end of the month the pattern will shift again and milder air will ensue. This doesn't mean winter will be over of course, but since we started with the cold so early, it's likely that a break will happen later this month and into January.

Record snow
When the ground becomes white, it reflects heat. When you have so much of the country with white ground, the air becomes very hard to warm-up. Monday saw 69% of the country covered by snow, this is a record for so early in the season and helps explain why so much of the United States has been so cold, so early.
snow depth.jpg
Outdoor project this weekend
In this video I show you a project you can do this weekend and bring the kids along too.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

David Epstein has been a professional meteorologist and horticulturalist for three decades. David spent 16 years at WCVB in Boston and currently freelances for WGME in Portland, ME. In 2006, More »
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