FIRST ALERT: Christmas Wind Eases But Downpours Continue; Flooding a Concern

The strong winds that buffeted New England are shifting east, but heavy rain continues for much of the day, with northern and western New England expecting 3 to 4 inches on top of snow melt

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Wind gusts up to 65 mph were reported in New England Christmas morning as a powerful storm moved through the area just when kids were waking up and opening their presents.

The wind will shift east during the afternoon, eliminating the threat for damaging wind for most of New England from midday onward -- except for Maine, where strong gusts continue into the first part of the afternoon from the south. 

Rain is a different story. Steady and at times heavy rain continues through the afternoon, tapering to showers from west to east, late day to evening respectively. 

Although rain totals of 2 inches, combined with melting snow, make for a daylong headache of big puddles, street flooding and hydroplaning concerns for those traveling in eastern New England. Northern and western New England have more snow to melt and see 3 to 4 inches of rain with locally higher amounts. 

The abundance of water in northern and western New England will mean at least minor flooding on all rivers, and moderate to perhaps major flooding on the Otter Creek and Walloomsac River in Vermont, the Pemigewasset and Suncook rivers in New Hampshire and the Hoosic in Western Massachusetts. River flooding will reach its peak Christmas night, with larger rivers like the Connecticut expected only to reach minor flooding but doing so into the weekend. 

Christmas Day: Downpours and wind – scattered wind damage until late morning, rain lasts all day. Highs near 60. Christmas Night: Chance sprinkle/flurry, chilly breeze. Lows in the 30s. Saturday: Chilly, clouds & sun, flurries. Highs in the 30s, wind chill 20s. Sunday: Sunny. Highs in the 30s.

Colder air streaming in Friday night brings clearing but also patchy ice on roads and walkways by morning, then a chilly Saturday with wind chill values in the 20s brings building clouds with scattered snow showers, especially in northern and western New England. 

The wind eases Sunday, with sunshine but chilly air hanging on. A warmer wind arrives Monday ahead of a weak disturbance that will deliver some late Monday rain showers south and mixed showers north. 

After that, our exclusive First Alert 10-day forecast brings another system into New England for New Year’s Eve and Day, though that system continues to look warm and mostly wet.

The good news for ski areas is cold air comes in between each storm, meaning snow guns can blast man-made snow to make up for the loss.

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