Splendid Thanksgiving Ahead of Bitter Blast… With Snow

The most snow Friday into Saturday will be found in the North Country

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Timing is everything and Thanksgiving 2021 found time on our side in New England: if we’re going to get one day of high temperatures in the 50s with a fair sky it might as well be on the holiday! 

Now our attention turns to much colder air and what will be a busy weather pattern in the days ahead. 

A sharp, well-defined cold front marching east across the Ohio Valley is carrying a broad band of rain ahead of the change in air and a big drop in temperatures behind the associated wind shift. 

While New England stays far enough ahead of this front on Thanksgiving Day, clouds increase Thursday evening and thicken Thursday night, with showers moving east out of New York State overnight into predawn Friday. 

Rain showers Friday morning will ramp up to a round of steady rain for several hours across New England, but colder air will move in aloft first, then in lower elevations, meaning a mix with and change to snow is expected from mountaintop to valley in Northern New England Friday afternoon into evening, from northwest to southeast. 

Central and southern New England are more likely to find the rain breaking into scattered showers before colder air really takes hold, but certainly some scattered snow showers or a few heavier snow bursts are within the realm of possibility. That is why we’re predicting a coating of snow on the grass possible where snow showers hit as far south as the Massachusetts Turnpike Friday evening.

The better chance of a coating to an inch will be found in the Monadnock Region and Lakes Region of NH, with two to four inches in the Green and White Mountain Valleys into Maine north of the Maine Turnpike, then four to eight inches in the higher terrain of the North Country where snow not only lasts well into Friday night but persists in some mountain locales into Saturday! 

Thanksgiving often can serve as the gateway to opening the winter sports season in Northern New England, and this may be the case, at least in the short term, this year, as we don’t expect to find much melting over the weekend. 

Even outside of the mountain snow bursts Saturday, cold air will be firmly in place for all of New England with high temperatures struggling to get to 40 degrees in even the warmest communities and a stiff west wind cranking wind chills down below 30 at the warmest time of the day and into the single digits both Saturday morning and night for the North Country! 

Sunday the wind relaxes but cold air lingers and this will mean if precipitation moves in, there should be more snow than raindrops. That said, exactly how much snow moves in is yet to be determined – what our First Alert Team knows is a very strong, energetic disturbance will move over the Northeast at the jet stream level. This is very likely to induce snow showers Sunday over New York and Pennsylvania, and very likely to bring at least some snow or snow and rain showers to New England Sunday evening to night. 

The key here is how quickly a new storm develops in response to the energetic disturbance – if it happens quickly and near the coast, accumulating snow falls in New England, all the way into the Boston to Providence corridor.  If the disturbance aloft is able to shift east quickly enough, new storm development will be over the ocean, meaning snow showers will be the worst of it Sunday evening and night, with a much more limited impact on return travel and a return to a normal routine Monday morning. 

Our First Alert Team will keep you posted in the coming days.  Either way, expect chilly air to stick around most of next week, even as we find a break between disturbances for quieter weather.

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