Tracking a Christmas Storm on This Winter Solstice

A storm is expected to bring warmer temps, strong wind and heavy rain for Christmas Eve

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The winter solstice officially rung in the new season, marking the start of “astronomical winter” at 5:02 a.m. Eastern Time Monday. This -- the shortest day of the year -- brings nine hours, four minutes and 36 seconds of daylight to Boston.

Counting the seconds could seem a little silly, but the days lengthen going forward starting with a three second gain on Tuesday, so the seconds matter! 

Regardless, our latest sunrise doesn’t come until early January. We’re gaining daylight on the tail end of the day, though, as the earliest sunset of the year has already passed. 

As for the weather, these first few days of the week are fitting for the season, delivering high temperatures shy of 40 degrees Monday. The moist, cool air is responsible for lingering pockets of ice on local roads, though road treatments alleviated that issue for most interstates and major roadways. 

The same moisture in the air will keep clouds in the sky through Tuesday morning, unfortunately likely to block the view of a beautiful and rare spectacle in the sky. 

The Great Conjunction of 2020 -- the closest appearance of Saturn and Jupiter in our southwest evening sky since the year 1623 -- happens Monday evening. While Tuesday evening likely affords an opportunity for viewing after a midday and afternoon clearing, the closest pass of the two planets technically will have passed.

Nonetheless, the trend toward clearing Tuesday afternoon lasts through a sunny but cool midweek. But a strengthening storm trucking east out of the Great Lakes encourages a south wind in the large, counter-clockwise flow of air around the storm center. The south wind will carry both milder and more moist air into New England.

This air will lead to increasing clouds Wednesday night into Thursday as temperatures warm into the 50s by Thursday afternoon. An increasing wind may gust over 50 mph, resulting in possible scattered power outages Christmas Eve. Combined with a slug of rain focused particularly in the evening, travel will be tough, but it will pose no challenge too large for Rudolph’s nose to guide Santa through. 

Nonetheless, as a powerful cold front crosses New England sometime between predawn and midday Friday (exact timing TBD), it will bring an end to the rain showers. It may provide a few snow showers for some, but it will also open the door for colder air to stream in with falling temperatures Christmas Day on a blustery west wind. 

This should mark the start of new, cold, wintry air that will deliver a dry weekend. Temperatures will likely hold highs shy of 30 degrees for most of New England both Saturday and Sunday following Christmas. 

A storm looks eager to develop behind the heart of the cold air, most likely impacting New England Monday or Tuesday of next week with an increased chance of accumulating snow. Our First Alert Team will keep a close eye on it in our exclusive 10-day forecast.

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