Some are saying this cold only comes around once in a generation. That might actually be true for northern New England, but for southern New England, we’ve wrangled with this beast before.
Harken back to Valentine’s Day of 2016, when a brutal blast of arctic air sent Boston to -9 in the morning and wind chills cut through us like a hot knife in butter. We grimaced through gusts of 30-45 mph and wind chills as cold as -30. This sounds like a good template for the first part of the weekend as the Polar Vortex sends us an early kiss from the Arctic Circle.
Why Is It Going to Be So Cold in New England?
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What’s odd about this setup is also odd about the last bouts of numbing, record-setting air. There is no pattern change, there is no sign this is the beginning of a trend of cold snaps, there is no rhyme or reason for the some of the coldest air on the planet to focus solely on our region, and there is no firm link to climate change.
But I’ll say this. There’s no argument that ISN’T linked to it, either. Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence. It’s plausible this is the result of location-specific warming at the North Pole that occasionally (every couple of years with varying degrees of intensity) dislodges and packages these parcels of intense cold and sends them south. Either way, they’re both powerful, hyper-localized, and fleeting. We’ll be on our way to warming by Saturday night.
How Cold Will It Get in New England?
Wind chills of 30 below should peak late Friday night and very early Saturday. Winds will crank up Friday morning and gust through Friday night. The worry here is for isolated power outages as gusts peak near 40-45 mph areawide. Winds will back down later on Saturday. Temps actually rise through Saturday night (!) and into Sunday morning. We should be in the low 30s by Sunday morning, with highs leaping to the low 40s Sunday afternoon.
The details may sound familiar, but the stakes are high. Dangerous cold is not a term we toss around lightly, but it applies Friday afternoon, night and early Saturday. Do whatever you need to stay warm, watch out for others, and ride out the cold.
Be safe this weekend!