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Temperature swings along with rain and even snow in the forecast

Posted by David Epstein  December 5, 2013 09:31 AM

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Temperatures this morning are above freezing in much of southern New England and have been rising for the past several hours. It won't turn cold, and go below freezing, until sometime Saturday. By then, drier and colder air will filter into the region. This cold air will play a role in our forecast for the Monday morning commute.During the day I update the forecast as it changes on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

Cold arctic air continues to move into the country. You can see from the morning temperature map there is very cold air over Montana and the Dakotas with very warm air here in the east. cold air in upper midwest.gif In winter, the width of the cold air mass across the country has limits. What I mean is when it's cold in the far west, it's usually warm in the east. If the cold moves east, the warm air end up out west. This is the case for bitter arctic outbreaks and why we are so mild this morning here, while much of the western part of the country is enduring brutal cold.

Over the next 10 days the cold is forecast to spread eastward and pieces of the coldest air will nick New England. The further north you go into Maine, the deeper into the cold you would be. The image above shows the cold air mass through next week. Notice the coldest air, the purples and reds coming from the upper most regions of the planet. As first, the cold air settles in the west, then we get a quick shot of the cold air, followed by a warm-up again.
Meteorgram coming.jpg
It’s during the change from warm to cold air and back to warm, when we will be most vulnerable for messy weather.

Today, the warmer air is streaming north and will envelop the region. Early tomorrow morning temperatures will be spring-like in the 40s and 50s. I don't expect much precipitation today, although there could be a passing shower.
S_NE Rain Friday.jpg
Overnight, a cold front will approach the area. Ahead of this front showers will break out and a period of steadier rain will fall. There will then be a break in the rainfall as the front slowly creeps eastward off the coast. I expect much of the midday hours Friday to be dry. Later in the day and during the overnight Friday another area of rain will move northward along the front and cause more wet weather. The radar image is for Friday evening around 10PM. S_NE Rain Friday.png It will be too warm initially for the precipitation to fall as snow or sleet, but eventually, as colder air moves in, the rain could change briefly to snow or sleet as it ends Saturday in the wee hours. I am not expecting anything remotely significant from this system in terms of winter weather.

The weekend looks dry and chilly. Temperatures will be in the 30s, but there will be an abundance of sunshine. The true arctic air will remain well to our north and west.
On Sunday night and Monday, a storm will pass up through the Great Lakes and into Canada. While we will be on the warmer side of the storm, two elements are going to play together to bring us some wintry weather.

First, the cold air is going to be entrenched enough when the precipitation begins for snow and sleet. Second, a small storm is forecast to form along the coast as the first storm moves to our west, when this happens, the storm on the coast keeps the cold air in place, often longer than expected.

The bottom line is the Monday morning commute is under the gun for trouble. This event is still days away, but there could be enough snow and sleet to shovel and plow for parts of the area, especially west of the coastline. Throughout the weekend, as we get new information, I'll update the blog and the possibility of the messy Monday drive.

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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