An extreme winter pattern continues across most of the United States.
There is an incredible extent of winter storm warnings, record cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills all the way down to the border from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and from Canada to Mexico.
Yet, here in New England, we have a fairly quiet Sunday. Consider it our Valentine’s Day gift from Mother Nature.
Once again today temperatures reached 40 below zero in the northern plains, at the same time as a series of storms are slamming the West Coast off of the Pacific Ocean and headed south toward the Gulf of Mexico.
These storms are fueled not only by the cold but also very warm air coming out of Cuba and southern Florida. So far -- the last few days we’ve managed to miss most of the action here in New England. But that looks like it’s going to change, especially Monday night and Tuesday.
Monday will see a mix of precipitation, which will pick up steam Monday into Tuesday. Ice accretions of up to a half an inch are possible, making for potential isolated power outages and tricky commuting.
Winter storm watches are in effect for many parts of New England due to the potential of power outages, downed trees and hazardous road conditions.
After a cold, quiet Wednesday, a storm Thursday into Friday will bring a burst of snow that will change to ice and rain for many. Several inches could fall before rain takes over.
For now, we’re straddling comfortably between the very cold air to our north and west, and the warm air to the south. But it’s along this boundary that we have the clouds and a few snowflakes in spots this afternoon.
The sky is mostly cloudy and the wind is light so it’s comfortable with the temperature mostly in the 30s, some 20s north.
A bit of a cold front is going to come through late tonight and tomorrow. That will have a few rain showers at the south coast tonight, then some possible snow showers, mixed with rain showers south, tomorrow.
Not much in the way of accumulation is expected through tomorrow evening.
Climate Change in New England
The big deal is a stronger low-pressure system forecast to track right across Cape Cod and the Islands on Tuesday. There will be cold air at low levels of the atmosphere, but warmer weather up in the sky.
This is a very dangerous situation for rain falling into air that is below freezing near the ground. There is potential for a major freezing rainstorm in northern Connecticut and western Massachusetts.
Ice may accumulate greater than 1/2 inch on trees, causing widespread power outages. There’s a chance that more of the precipitation could be in the form of sleet, that is not accrete on surfaces, that would be a better situation.
Either way, it’s going to be a rough day for most of New England with very difficult travel. From Boston to Providence and the coast of Connecticut and points south and east, we should see mostly rain, more than an inch of rain is possible.
On a line roughly from Rutland, Vermont, to Conway, New Hampshire, to Lewiston, Maine, it should be mostly snow to the north. Ten inches of snow are possible by late Tuesday and Tuesday night.
Cold and dry weather should come in behind that system on Wednesday, with a refreeze of the slushy mess in southern New England. Sunshine is forecast Wednesday with high temperatures in the 20s, teens north.
Yet another storm similar to Tuesday is forecast to come in on Thursday with snow developing in the afternoon. This one has the potential to match or exceed the same kind of wintry mess on the way for Tuesday.
For now, we will take them one at a time, stay tuned to the latest updates in our First Alert 10-day forecast.