Cold high pressure – or fair weather – continues to dish out dry weather for New England that will persist through daytime hours Thursday. Clouds dancing off the ocean will brush the Outer Cape at times later Tuesday, then scrape along Cape Ann, the South Shore and the Outer Cape Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
The busy breeze Tuesday morning diminishes for the second half of the day, but high temperatures fail to make it past 40 degrees, meaning even a somewhat lighter breeze still promotes a wind chill around 30 degrees at the warmest time of Tuesday afternoon before low temperatures drop to the 20s and teens overnight Tuesday night.
The wind will be light and variable across New England Wednesday, so high temperatures in the 30s to near 40 degrees will feel noticeably better than the start of the week with sun and wispy clouds belying the storminess that lay ahead for New England and much of the eastern two-thirds of the country.
Flight delays, heavy rain
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By Thursday, clouds will fill the New England sky as the anticipated late week storm organizes over the Central and Eastern United States. During Thursday, snow will expand from Oklahoma to Michigan, including Chicago and St. Louis, resulting in compounding travel trouble to airports in that corridor, while rain expands in the east from the Carolinas through the Mid-Atlantic, including our nation’s Capital, by afternoon and late day, delaying travel by air and road.
In New England, Thursday’s daylight hours remain dry with rain arriving from the southwest Thursday evening and expanding to northern New England Thursday night, where it should encounter just enough lingering cold air to start as accumulating snow, with one to three inches a good general guideline, but as much as four to six inches of snow possible in the Presidentials of New Hampshire. With up to two feet of recent snow still on the ground in northern New England and some fresh snow to start this event, ski areas and snowmobile trails should be able to absorb much of the rain that follows on Friday.
Strong wind gusts could cause power outages
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Farther south in Central and Southern New England, rain totals Thursday night through Friday will reach up to two inches, but the bigger problem is likely to be wind: southeast and then southerly gusts will reach 50 mph for many and may touch 70 mph at some immediate shorelines, likely to deliver power outages on Friday afternoon.
Utility crews undoubtedly will swing into quick action with the holiday weekend immediately following this storm, but nature won’t make the job easy: a flash freeze is possible Friday night as the rain ends but colder air sweeps in, and the wind will shift direction to blow from the southwest Friday night into Saturday and will drop in magnitude, but still feature frequent gusts to 30 and 35 mph, making work from bucket trucks a bit more challenging, especially as wind chill values dip to zero by dawn Saturday.
All the while, the increasing ocean waves coupled with a high tidal level due to the New Moon coming up on the 23rd will mean coastal flooding in pockets for the Friday late morning high tide, and for some at the South Coast, again Friday night.
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Cold Christmas on tap
Unfortunately, it will be a cold Christmas Eve for those who don’t have power restored, with daytime highs Saturday only expected to reach around 30 degrees with a continued southwest breeze that will spray ocean-effect snow showers onto the Cape and Islands while some mountain snow showers fall in the North Country.
Cold air continues Christmas Day with most New England towns not making 30 degrees and perhaps some ocean-effect flurries or snow showers on Nantucket, with a fair sky for most of the remainder of New England.
Next chance for snow Tuesday?
The next chance of light snow thereafter is a possibility on Tuesday, though that’s less certain than some of our recent events have been in the extended forecast.