Frigid temps expected to continue into next week
By James M. Arnold, Weather Specialist
There certainly is no quit in this winter, as our temperatures have been from 10 to 15 degrees below long term averages so far this week with the promise of even colder conditions later this week. Frigid temperatures will extend well into next week as well, though there may be some moderation by the end of next week as temperatures rise to about 3 to 5 degrees below average for this time of year. The cold is not the only issue on our plate as there is the potential for several minor and two major snow events in the next 7 to 10 days. Scattered snow flurries or squalls will be our lot today and tomorrow, and again along about Saturday night or early Sunday. No significant snow is expected into Sunday, although heavier squalls could drop up to an inch of snow in isolated areas through tomorrow. Sunday night into Monday looks to be when the threat for a major snow event materializes.
As I mentioned in the message of 22 Feb, the package of Pacific energy approaching the west coast will bring much needed rain to the drought stricken areas of California by midweek, and thereafter travel across the southern part of the U.S. At the same time, an arctic front will move through our area bringing with it a real blast of arctic air as it settles to our south today and tomorrow. The Pacific energy package will eventually hook up with the arctic front off the Virginia Capes forming an intensifying coastal storm which will likely run up the eastern seaboard, potentially delivering a major snowfall to the I 95 corridor. What happens here in central Massachusetts depends on the storm track in relation to the benchmark, that magic spot in the ocean to the southeast of Nantucket. This storm too, like the past few, could go harmlessly out to sea, but my feeling right now is that it will track near or just inside the benchmark and give most of southern New England a noteworthy snowstorm with continued cold temperatures and possibly high winds due to a strong pressure gradient between the intensifying low and the large arctic high to our north and northeast. The precipitation potential from this storm is pretty high, leading me to believe that central Massachusetts could be looking at a possible snowfall of 6 to 10 inches and potentially more than that. Temperatures will remain cold throughout, with highs in the 20s and lows in the single numbers above and below zero. With the cold weather in place, our snow will be light and fluffy, lending itself to drifting and blowing as winds increase from the northeast. As usual, winds will be strongest along the coast and could reach velocities of 35 mph with gusts approaching 50 mph, should the storm track where I think it will. Tides will be falling from astronomical high values, but will still be fairly high, leading to a concern over some minor coastal flooding at the time of high tide on Monday and Tuesday. East facing beaches will once again be threatened by minor to moderate erosion.
Following this storm our weather will become tranquil but cold and windy from the northwest during midweek next week. The next threat for a significant snow event will be about Thursday or Friday of next week, and that, being more than a week out, is a subject for another day.
James M. Arnold is a Weather Specialist working with Shrewsbury Emergency Management Agency; town of Princeton; Worcester Emergency Communications and Emergency Management Agency; Southborough Emergency Management Agency; town of Grafton and Wachusett Mountain Ski Area
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