Weather

Squalls Mark Leading Edge Of Another Arctic Air Mass

After a light snowfall last evening and a more snow squalls today, colder air is starting to rush into the region. This will set the stage for another one of those cold nights and days when it’s just not easy to be outside very long.

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Today marks the 14th day in a row most of us haven’t seen the thermometer reach 32F. With two more, sub-32F afternoons on the way tomorrow and Saturday, February 2015 will tie, at 16, the longest such stretch in the record books. This has previously occurred two other times, once in 1918 and then again in 1961. This doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened before, just not during the period of the official records. Other records being set are of course around snowfall. Today, Boston recorded 0.4 inches after midnight, so the season total is now at 96.7 inches, which surpasses 1993-94 total puts this year into second place. (This doesn’t account for anything that falls this evening)

Here are some other interesting tidbits about the Great Snow Of 2015. On average, in this part of the country, 10 inches of snow would melt down to about an inch of water. As you have likely learned this year, if it’s really cold, the snow is lighter and has much less water content when melted. Since January 23rd, the water content of the snow in Boston is about 4.83 inches. If it hadn’t been so cold during all these storms, we would have had about half as much snow.

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While snowfall is running about 200% above normal, the amount of extra water we have seen this year is just over an inch more than average, even taking into account the obvious differences between snow and rain, it’s still an amazing statistic.

When Will It Warm Up?
I don’t yet see many signs of the pattern changing, but in the latest monthly outlook for March, the core of the predicted below average temperatures is starting to shift west. If this holds, it would mean we finally get out of the direct path of the persistent arctic outbreaks.

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This weekend we have another weather system to forecast. I am not overly concerned about this system in terms of either snow or rain. There will be some of both, but not large amounts. Of course it takes very little to foul up travel, so it might not matter to some of you this won’t be a big storm.

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My early thinking is that we see a burst of snow Saturday evening with a light, to perhaps moderate accumulation. This is followed by a slow change to rain along the coast and freezing rain inland. The rain might not penetrate beyond the coastal plain or it could make it as far west as Worcester and beyond.

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My biggest concern is any standing water that is left Sunday night, will quickly freeze rock solid. If we do get even two or three inches of snow and you don’t remove it, plan on it freezing into a cement like mess by Monday morning.

The chart below (credit:WeatherBell Analytics) gives a general idea of the weather fluctuations on the way the next week.

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Dry weather continues through Tuesday. The next weather system we might have to deal with is Wednesday. Since the models are all over the place, so are the forecasts. You know the drill by now, 6 days before a weather event is just too early to say anything with confidence.

Stay warm tomorrow; it’s going to be a bitter day.

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