Meteorologist David Epstein breaks down the New Year’s weekend forecast

The arctic cold is going to continue for the foreseeable future, with a possible break sometime during the second week of January. This means we’ll close out 2017 and begin 2018 on the same frozen note. There is even a chance of some snow Saturday to really make youand any polar bears that might have wandered south this weekfeel at home.

On Friday, we find a weakening area of low pressure moving through the region, and that is why we’re seeing more clouds than sunshine. It’s slightly less cold than Thursday, but, without any sunshine, it basically feels the same.

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Credit: College of DuPage

On Saturday, a storm system will pass to our south and brush coastal Massachusetts with a little bit of snow. Greater Boston may even get a dusting to an inch, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the city doesn’t see any snow at all. The snow that does fall will be more like pixie dust, so you’ll be able to move it with a broom or leaf blower. Of course, it will be cold again.

Behind this weather system a new blast of Arctic air moves in for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Sunday’s Patriots game

Temperatures Sunday afternoon during the Patriots game will be in the middle teens at kickoff and will fall back a couple of degrees by the fourth quarter. There will be enough wind to drop wind chills to within a few degrees of zero at times. It’s a good idea to bring hand and foot warmers if you’re heading to the game. There will be plenty of bright sunshine if you are fortunate to be sitting in an area facing south.

First Night festivities

For those of you heading out on New Year’s Eve, you can expect temperatures to continue to fall from about 3 p.m. well past midnight. At sunset, readings will be in the 10-12 degree range, and, by the time midnight arrives, they will only be a couple of degrees above zero. In Boston, the wind chills will be below zero.

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New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day will be similar to Thursday with highs not reaching double digits in many areas.  It will be a good day to take down the tree, but a cold one to take down outdoor lights.

What’s going on with all this cold?

The reason for all this Arctic air is of course the jet stream. The persistent flow from northern Canada is a result of a weakened polar vortex, that band of fast moving winds that is always present but tends to be stronger in the winter. These winds can sometimes weaken and allow the coldest of Arctic air, typically stuck up in the Arctic, to flow southward.  

This also happened 100 years ago this week, when Boston hit subzero temperatures on three consecutive mornings and highs never got to 10 degrees.

Renewed blasts of Arctic air

The loop below shows more below average temperatures, as represented by the purple colors, heading for the United States during next week. This means even more cold. Remember if you are someone who typically has pipes freeze in the winter to keep checking them and keep closet doors and cabinets open to allow the heat to reach the walls where the pipes might be located.

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Credit: Tropical Tidbits

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