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Mild today, but cold and snow are quickly heading our way

Posted by David Epstein  January 20, 2014 07:47 AM

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If you don’t like the cold, today is your day to get outside. Temperatures are about to plummet and they are going to stay cold for the next 10 to 15 days. When I write that, it doesn’t mean every day of the next two weeks is going to be bitter, however, when you average the next two weeks together, it’s going to turn out to have been a notably cold period. So far, Boston has hit 2F for the coldest reading of the season. It’s going to be close if we reach or exceed that level of cold, but the duration of this cold outbreak will exceed any prior.

Today will feature a blend of clouds and sunshine. It will be mild and some melting will occur. This is going to be the last day of above 32F degree readings for a while. Later this afternoon and evening a quick round of snow showers or even a squall can occur. This snow marks the beginning of our cold snap. The squalls will be brief, if they occur, but roads could slicken up in those areas receiving the snow.

When you get up tomorrow morning temperatures will be in the single numbers and teens with the coldest air north and west of Boston. The chilly air won’t arrive in full force until after a quick hitting storm departs on Wednesday.

This next system is going to be all snow and the heaviest occurs along the south coast tomorrow into early Wednesday. The image below shows the area most likely to have the most snow Tuesday and Tuesday night. This snow would break out in the afternoon Tuesday and continue into the early morning hours Wednesday.
Snow coming.png

School shouldn’t be impacted tomorrow, but could be delayed or cancelled in some towns on Wednesday. The image below is a forecast of the radar early Wednesday morning. It will be still snowing from Boston and points south, but ending west.
4 AM Wed.png

There is a winter storm watch for areas along the south coast in light blue. This afternoon, after new computer information becomes available, the watch may be changed to a warning, dropped entirely or expanded north to perhaps include Boston.
Winter storm watch.png

I'll update the forecast here and on Twitter @growingwisdom. That's a great place to ask questions and comment.

The atmosphere is in a very dynamic state right now and small shifts can change a forecast from partly cloudy to accumulating snow in a few hours. The map below shows the winds at 30,000 feet early Wednesday morning. Notice the way the flow comes from the west and then there is a kink in the flow over New England. The wind then turns and comes from the south at this level. This is called a trough and the trough is conducive to storm development.
jet stream.png

Behind any snow, cold continues with frigid temperatures the rest of the week. There will be some moderation in the cold for the weekend before more frigid air returns next week. The cold pattern is likely to continue through the first week of February.

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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