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Mild weekend, but significant ice storm not far away

Posted by David Epstein  December 20, 2013 06:24 PM

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Mild air continues to eat away at the snow as the snow cover visibly shrinks from sunrise to sunset. I still about 10 inches on the ground and I figure I will lose about 2 inches a day through Monday leaving a coating by Christmas Eve. If we get some really heavy downpours it might be green by then. I'll be updating my predictions for Christmas and beyond on Twitter @growingwisdom. Please find me there and say hi.

If you are traveling to northern New England this weekend be aware there is a winter storm watch in effect for Saturday night into early Monday for much of Maine. This has been issued for the potential ice storm (and possible heavy snow well north) over the weekend.

There is going to a be a frontal system, along a very strong jet stream, dividing deep winter cold from spring-like warmth cutting through New England this weekend. Because of where we in relationship to this boundary, most of southern New England will enjoy temperatures that seem like March, not a few days before Christmas. However, after averaging over 7 degrees below normal for 10 days, the atmosphere has to balance and this is why it's going to be so mild.

Small ripples of energy will ride along this front to our north through the weekend. Eventually on Monday the entire system will shift east, a round of showers will ensue and cold, sunny dry weather moves in for Christmas Eve and Christmas itself.
The weekend won't be a washout. While there will be a few periods of showers both Saturday afternoon and Sunday, I don't expect it to be rainy all the time. In terms of sunshine, today is our sunniest day with clouds dominating throughout the weekend. The best chance of showers comes the second half of Saturday and Sunday.
Much of the country is under some crazy weather. Accuweather has a great graphic that shows the picture for the weekend.
accuweather.jpg

Again, I urge you to keep track of forecasts for northern New England all weekend, it would be quite a mess, especially north of Portland.

Temperatures will be in the lower to middle 50s both days around Boston, but cooler across the north shore of Essex County and parts of Cape Cod, where ocean water is in the 40s and any wind off that water will cool down the air somewhat.

If you are wanting a white Christmas you most likely will have to go inland or up north. In Boston, the snow will be long gone (except the piles) before Tuesday. How far inland the bare ground line gets will depend on how hard it rains. The sun is as weak as possible this time of year, so even with temperatures in the 50s, there isn't much help from the sun. It will take a bit of rain to really clear the ground. Fog can also eat the snow quite rapidly and there will be some at night this weekend.

Colder weather comes back next week, but as of now not for the extended period we just saw. Astronomical winter arrives tomorrow by the way, three weeks after meteorological winter began. The latter is usually more accurate in describing the season, the former is more about light and the position of the sun.

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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