Record Heat and Cold, Snowstorms, Droughts, and Tropical Storms – What’s Next?

September is when we start to transition from Summer to Winter, but this September is starting off with a bang.

Intense heat has been common across much of the West for the past few days. Temperatures well over 100 degrees were widespread during Labor Day Weekend, especially across California, with numerous records set. One location, Richmond, on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay, reached 107 degrees Monday afternoon, tying their all-time record, originally set on September 15, 1971. Several other locations set monthly records for September as well. The worst of the heat has passed, but it will remain hot on Tuesday, with highs likely topping 100 across much of interior California and the Desert Southwest, possibly setting a few more records. Temperatures should gradually cool down a little more as we get toward the middle and latter portion of the week.

Another hot day is likely across interior California on Tuesday. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Heat was also common across the Plains and Rocky Mountains over the weekend, but big changes are developing thanks to a strong cold front. Denver set a record high of 97 on Sunday, then reached 93 on Monday. On Tuesday, that 93 will get reversed, with a daytime high closer to 39 (The high for the calendar day will be the 46-degree reading at midnight). On top of that, accumulating snow is likely. Even by Denver standards, this is quite early in the year for snow. Their all-time record for earliest snow is September 3, 1961, but on average Denver doesn’t see its first flakes until October 18. This won’t be the 1st time that Denver hit 90 one day and then had measurable snow the next. On September 12, 1993, Denver recorded a high of 92 degrees, and on September 13, they had 5.4″ of snow.

While a few inches of snow are likely in Denver and onto the adjacent High Plains of eastern Colorado and western Nebraska, heavier snow is likely across the mountains on Colorado and Wyoming. Across the higher elevations, snowfall totals in excess of a foot are likely. While the snow will likely last a while in the mountains, at the “lower” elevations on the Plains, it will disappear quickly. High temperatures in Denver will be back into the 60s by Friday, and near 80 by the end of the weekend.

Heavy snow is likely in the higher elevations of the Rockies. Image provided by the College of DuPage.

While the snow will get a lot of the headlines, the cold air behind the front will be making headlines of its own. The first frost and freeze of the season is likely across parts of the Dakotas, Montana, and northern Minnesota Tuesday and/or Wednesday morning, with lows in the upper 20s and 30s. The cold air will continue to push southward across the Great Plains during the day on Tuesday, with numerous record lows expected Wednesday morning as far south as the Texas Panhandle. The cold air will eventually spread eastward, but will be modified significantly before it reaches the Eastern United States.

Record lows are likely across the Plains and the Rockies Wednesday morning. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

While plenty of (frozen) precipitation is expected across the Rockies, the lack of precipitation is causing problems across the Northeast, specifically New England. Aside from a few showers with a cold front on Thursday, generally dry weather is expected across much of New England this week, and things don’t look that promising for much of next week either. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as precipitation has been generally below to well below normal across the region since the Spring. In some areas, the amount of rain has only been around 50-60% of normal since April 1. Drought conditions have developed across nearly all of New England, and for a good portion of the region, it is now considered a severe drought. What the region needs is a series of systems that can produce moderate rainfall to help alleviate the drought (too much at once won’t help that much), but prospects for that aren’t promising at this time. In fact, rainfall looks to remain below normal for much of the remainder of September.

Drought conditions are worsening across New England. Image provided by the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Meanwhile, as we approach the climatological peak of hurricane season, the Atlantic is once again getting more active. Tropical Storms Paulette and Rene both developed on Monday in the central and eastern Atlantic respectively. Paulette is expected to remain a tropical storm for the next several days while remaining over open water. It is not expected to be a threat to land. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Rene moved into the Cabo Verde Islands Monday night and early Tuesday, producing heavy rain and gusty winds. It will likely strengthen over the next couple of days, possibly becoming a hurricane later this week. Once it pulls away from the Cabo Verde Islands, it is also expected to remain over open water for much of this week, presenting no additional threat to land.

Satellite loop showing Tropical Storms Paulette and Rene in the central and eastern Atlantic. Loop provided by Tropical Tidbits.

Those systems aren’t the only ones in the Atlantic that are being watched. An area of low pressure a couple of hundred miles west-southwest of Bermuda is expected to drift westward or northwestward over the next day or two. Some development of the system is possible. It may bring some rainfall into parts of the Carolinas and Southeast later this week. The other area that is being watched isn’t immediately apparent right now, as it is still over western Africa. A tropical wave is expected to emerge from the west coast of Africa later this week. Forecast models show the potential for this wave to develop rather quickly once it moves into the Atlantic. It could threaten the Cabo Verde Islands over the weekend.

The peak of hurricane season is during the middle to latter half of September. Given how active this season has been so far, there will likely be more systems developing. There are only 4 names left on this list for this season – Sally, Teddy, Vicky, and Wilfred. Once the list is exhausted, the Greek alphabet is used. This has only happened once before – in 2005. During that season, there were 28 named storms of which 15 became hurricanes.

Weekly Outlook: July 27-August 2, 2020

Heat and humidity continue across the region for a couple more days before relief arrives on Wednesday.

Heat Advisories are in effect for much of the region for today and Tuesday. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

A ridge of high pressure remains in control, so stifling heat and humidity will remain in place until Tuesday. Today looks to be the hottest day, with temperatures well into the 90s. A few places could reach 100, but triple-digit heat shouldn’t be widespread. It will be very humid as well, sending the heat index well above 100 across the region, but dewpoints may actually drop a bit during the afternoon. Tonight will be downright uncomfortable without air conditioning, as low temperatures will only drop into the middle to upper 70s in many areas, and some urban areas, especially Boston, may not drop below 80.

Temperatures may struggle to drop below 80 in some spots Monday night. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Tuesday will start off very warm and humid, so it won’t take much to send temperatures above 90 once again, but clouds will also start to increase in the afternoon as a cold front approaches the region. This front may produce a few showers and thunderstorms late in the day and at night. Some of these storms may produce some heavy downpours and gusty winds, but we’re not expecting widespread severe weather.

There is a marginal risk for severe weather on Tuesday across the region. Image provided by the Storm Prediction Center.

The front slides offshore early Wednesday, then high pressure builds in for the rest of the week and into the weekend. It be a bit cooler, but still near to a little above normal for the end of July, but the more noticeable effect will be that it is drier, with dewpoints only in the 50s to lower 60s.

Monday: Sunshine and some high clouds around, hot and humid. High 92-99.

Monday night: Clear to partly cloudy. Low 72-79.

Tuesday: Sunny early, then clouds move in with some showers and thunderstorms possible late in the day. High 90-97.

Tuesday night: Showers ending during the evening, though possibly lingering for much of the night near the South Coast. Low 67-74.

Wednesday: Lingering clouds along the South Coast early, otherwise becoming partly to mostly sunny and not as humid. High 85-92.

Thursday: Sunshine and some afternoon clouds. High 83-90.

Friday: A mix of sun and clouds. High 81-88.

Saturday: Partly to mostly sunny. High 81-88.

Sunday: Partly sunny. High 82-89.

Model forecasts for the track of a tropical disturbance in the Central Atlantic. Image provided by WeatherBell,

Finally, we’ll mention the tropical disturbance in the Central Atlantic, since the hype train is already getting set to leave the station. Yes, there are a few models that show a potential threat to the East Coast in about 7-10 days. These should be treated the same as model forecasts in January that show a raging blizzard 7-10 days out. The probability of it happening is still fairly low. The system itself hasn’t even become a tropical depression yet. That may occur later Monday or Tuesday. If (when?) it does, we’ll write a blog post about the storm and it’s future. For now, it has our attention, but that’s it.

A Chilly Weekend is Coming, a Little Snow too?

By now, you’ve heard the TV meteorologists talking about how it’s going to snow, or you’ve read the headlines about an “historic May snowstorm” that’s coming. As usual, we at Storm HQ will avoid the hype and just give you the facts. Yes, there will be some snowflakes around here and no, it won’t be a big deal at all.

A cold front is moving across the Great Lakes this afternoon, and it move across our area tonight, with plenty of clouds and possibly a few showers. Behind that front, much colder air will start to move into the region. This is an anomalously cold airmass for early May, and in fact, is more representative of early March. That front is expected to stall out near the South Coast, and then a wave of low pressure will develop along the front and ride along it, crossing southern New England Friday night and early Saturday.

The ECMWF model shows the progression of the system for Friday into Saturday. Loop provided by Pivotal Weather.

We’ll have some rain moving in Friday afternoon and evening, but as the sun sets and temperatures drop, some wet snow will start to mix in. The most likely spots for snow are in the hilly terrain from northern Rhode Island across Worcester County and into the Monadnocks of southwestern New Hampshire, as well as out in the Berkshires. However, we wouldn’t be surprised if there was some wet snow mixed in with the rain even into the suburbs of Boston.

As we mentioned with the last few storms, it’s awfully tough to get accumulating snow into early May for a variety of reasons. For one, the ground is fairly mild. Any accumulations will be mainly on grassy surfaces, as pavement temperatures are much too warm now. Secondly, temperatures may not even drop to freezing, but could stay in the middle to upper 30s. Third, the intensity of the precipitation will be key. Heavier precipitation will bring down colder air from aloft, resulting in the change to snow, whereas light precipitation will tend towards more rain.

As far as accumulations, as we said, we’re not expecting this to be a big deal for most of us. You may wake up Saturday morning, if you’re up early enough, to see a little bit of a coating on grassy surfaces, decks, and car roofs/windshields. As we mentioned, most of the accumulations will be confined to the hilly terrain, where a few inches could fall.

Snow is fairly rare once you get into May. Using data for Lowell, snow has been recorded 5 times during the month of May over the past 92 years, and measurable snow only twice.

5/11/1945 – Trace
5/1/1953 – Trace
5/10/1977 – 2.6″
5/6/1996 – Trace
5/18/2002 – 1.0″

The ECMWF model is closest to our thinking for snowfall with this storm. Image provided by WeatherBell.

The snow is only part of the story though, and in fact, a minor part. As the storm intensifies while pulling away on Saturday, gusty winds are expected across the area. West winds of 15-25 mph with gusts of 40-50 mph are expected, especially along the coast. At the same time, an upper-level low pressure area will be moving into the region, bringing in very cold weather. That upper low may trigger a few rain or snow showers in the afternoon, but the cold temperatures will be the story. High temperatures likely will stay in the 40s, which may set records for the lowest high temperatures for the date in many locations.

Record low high temperatures are possible across parts of the region on Saturday. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

The really cold weather will be short-lived, as we will start to moderate on Mother’s Day as high pressure builds in. However, if you’re hoping for some sustained warmth, it’s not coming anytime soon. There are some hints that we may get out of the pattern that’s kept us quite chilly for most of April and early May in another 10 days or so, but a “warm” pattern is still a ways off.

Temperature forecast for the next 45 days for Bedford, Massachusetts based on the 51 members of the ECMWF Ensemble forecast. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

The image above is the high and low temperature forecast for Bedford for the next 45 days, based on the ECMWF Ensemble, which has 51 separate members. The solid red and blue lines in the middle of each graph are the “normal” highs/lows for each day. The green dot is the average of the 51 members for each day (which is also represented numerically in the middle of the 2 charts), and the shaded gray area is the area that between 1/4 and 3/4 of the members fall. The horizontal blue lines above and below that are the extreme on each day. As you can see, this model is forecasting temperatures to remain well below normal through May 14-15. After that, temperatures generally average near or a little below normal until June 9. Granted, “normal” for those dates is upper 60s to near 70 for high temperatures, so it’ll be milder, but still a little cooler than we should be. Finally, we get to near or a little above normal for a sustained period around June 10. Now this is just one model, so take it with a grain of salt, but it’s done fairly well diagnosing the general details of our weather pattern for several weeks now. There is hope that you can finally take your summer clothes out of storage, perhaps as early as next weekend.

Messy Tuesday, Frigid Thursday

The Winter Solstice is Saturday, but winter will certainly make it’s presence felt over the next few days.

The low pressure system that produced severe weather across the South on Monday will head northeastward, impacting our area on Tuesday. The storm will be moving fairly quickly, and it doesn’t have a lot of cold air to work with, so we’re not expecting a big snowstorm. That doesn’t mean it won’t cause any problems.

Winter Weather Advisories are in effect for most of the region. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

Snow will develop around midnight across parts of Connecticut and Southern Rhode Island, gradually spreading northward across the rest of the region before daybreak. The snow should quickly change to rain after daybreak across the South Coast and Cape Cod. As warmer air moves in aloft, a change to sleet and freezing rain will start to take place across the interior, with plain rain along the coast as milder air moves in off the still relatively mild ocean. Right now, it looks like the mixing may get as far north as the Merrimack Valley during the afternoon. North of there, precipitation should stay all snow. The precipitation will lighten up during the afternoon, but won’t completely end until the evening or first part of the overnight.

The morning and evening commute will both be impacted by this storm, but the greater impacts will certainly be during the morning commute. Not only could icing be a problem, especially in parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island, we could be looking at a band of moderate to heavy snow along and south of the Mass Pike. With temperatures expected to drop below freezing at night, many roads could ice back up, so untreated surfaces could become slick, especially in areas that changed over to rain during the afternoon.

Icing could become a significant problem across parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island on Tuesday. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

As for how much snow to expect, we haven’t changed our thinking much from our earlier forecast.

South Coast/Cape Cod: Less than 1″
Southeastern Massachusetts (including the I-95 corridor): 1-2″
MetroWest/North Shore: 1-3″
Merrimack Valley: 2-4″
Central + Southern New Hampshire/NH Seacoast: 3-6″

The High Resolution NAM model is probably closest to our expectations for snowfall. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Behind this system, we’ve got to pay attention to an arctic cold front that will move across the region late Wednesday. It could produce some snow showers or squalls as it moves through. These won’t impact everyone, but in places they do, visibility could rapidly drop, and a quick half an inch to an inch of snow could fall.

Wind chills will likely drop below zero across most of the area Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Image provided by Weathermodels,com

Behind that front, some of the coldest air so far this season will settle in for Thursday. Wind chills will be below zero during the morning hours, and actual temperatures may not make it out of the teens during the afternoon. Friday will see temperatures start to moderate a bit, but it will still remain quite chilly, even by December standards.

Weekly Outlook: December 9-15, 2019

Given a choice, would you prefer cold weather or warm weather? What about a choice between rain, snow, or dry weather? Well, you’re going to get ALL of these this week!

Temperatures could reach 60 across parts of the area on Tuesday. Image provided by WeatherBell.

We start the week with low pressure moving into the Great Lakes and then eventually up the St. Lawrence Valley. With low pressure passing to our north and west, we’ll be on the warm side, with rain expected, mainly in two waves. The first one will come in today, with rain developing this morning, and continuing into tonight, when it cold be locally heavy. The warm air should move in south of Boston fairly quickly, but it may take until tonight to get into the Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire.

Warm air comes in today, and is quickly pushed out by cold air late Tuesday into Wednesday. Loop provided by Weathermodels.com

We’ll have a bit of a lull tomorrow morning, but a cold front will approach later in the day, with rain coming back ahead of that front. We’ll still be on the mild side, that is until the front comes through. Temperatures will quickly drop behind the front late Tuesday and Tuesday night but the precipitation may linger, so we will likely see rain changing to snow Tuesday night.

The NAM model shows the progression of the storm with 2 waves of rain followed by some snow. Loop provided by Tropical Tidbits.

On Wednesday, a little disturbance will move across the region, bringing us some additional light snow, mainly in the morning. There’s still a bit of uncertainty with this, but plan on the morning commute being impacted. We’re probably only looking at a few inches, but all it really takes to screw up the morning commute is a few flakes at all. High pressure builds in late in the day and into Thursday with drier and much colder weather.

A few inches of snow could really mess up the Wednesday morning rush hour. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

By Friday, temperatures start to moderate again as the high slides offshore. It’ll still be chilly (it is December after all), but not quite as cold as Thursday. The weekend looks even milder once again, but that’s because we’ll have another storm system passing to our north and west, so we’re looking at another round of rain, possibly heavy once again.

Saturday could end up quite mild once again, but wet as well. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Monday: Cloudy and becoming breezy with periods of rain and showers. High 49-56.

Monday night: Cloudy and breezy with rain likely, possibly heavy at times, tapering off late at night. Temperatures hold steady or possibly rise a few degrees.

Tuesday: Cloudy and breezy with showers redeveloping late in the day. High 53-60, but temperatures start to quickly drop from northwest to southeast during the afternoon.

Tuesday night: Cloudy with rain changing to snow during the evening. Low 26-33.

Wednesday: Cloudy with light snow ending around midday. Skies clear out at night. Temperatures hold steady or drop a few degrees during the day.

Thursday: Plenty of sunshine, but cold. High 24-31.

Friday: Becoming mostly cloudy. High 32-39.

Saturday: Cloudy, breezy, and milder with rain likely. High 46-53.

Sunday: Partly to mostly cloudy and breezy, chance for a few showers. High 42-49.

Weekly Outlook: November 11-17, 2019

Thank you to all that have served or continue to serve our nation. Image provided by the United States Army

Are you ready? Ready for Winter? It’s coming, and quickly. Better enjoy today, because after that, it’s going to get cold.

We start the week off with high pressure in control, but we’ll have plenty of clouds as a cold front begins to approach the region. That front will move through on Tuesday, with some rain likely ahead of it. Low pressure will develop along this front and move right across the region on Tuesday. Ahead of the low and the front, it will be somewhat mild, but once the front moves through in the afternoon, that’s when things start to happen.

NAM model forecast showing rain coming in ahead of the cold front, changing to snow before ending behind it. Loop provided by Tropical Tidbits.

Colder air comes surging in behind the front, and temperatures will quickly drop Tuesday afternoon. Rain will likely change over to sleet and snow from northwest to southeast. Now we’re not talking about a lot of snow, probably an inch or less in most spots, and mainly on grassy surfaces, but snow will be the least of the concerns. Gusty winds will help to dry out the roads, and ground temperatures remain fairly mild, but with temperatures dropping into the 20s by late Tuesday, we could see some ice developing, especially on elevated surfaces like bridges and overpasses. So, if you’re going to be out and about Tuesday evening or night, use caution.

While there might be a pretty good snowstorm up north, around here, we’re not expecting much. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

We’ve covered the snow potential, and the potential for slick roads, but here’s the biggest issue we’ll be dealing with – it’s going to be cold. When we say “cold”, we mean “COLD”. As in, record low temperatures Wednesday morning across most of the region. As in wind chills (another phrase most of you don’t like) in the single numbers (Fahrenheit, not Celsius). Yeah, it’s going to feel like January Tuesday night into Wednesday. Oh yeah, we forgot to mention that Wednesday may see highs in the 20s to lower 30s.

Any location that is circled is likely to set a record low temperatures Wednesday morning. Yeah, it’s going to be cold. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

Winds will diminish for Thursday, but it will remain chilly. Temperatures should start to moderate a little on Friday as high pressure slides offshore. Of course, another cold front comes through Friday night and then we get cold again next weekend, but probably not quite as cold as Tuesday night and Wednesday. Temperatures will still be well below normal.

Wind chills will be in the single numbers when most of you wake up Wednesday morning. Image provided by WeatherBell.

Monday: Mostly cloudy with a few showers possible, mainly north of the Mass Pike. High 41-48 north and west of Boston, 49-56 south of Boston.

Monday night: Cloudy with showers developing late at night. Evening low 34-41 north and west of Boston, 42-49 south of Boston. Temperatures may rise after midnight

Tuesday: Cloudy and breezy with showers likely, changing to sleet and snow during the afternoon. Morning high 42-49 north and west of Boston, 50-57 south of Boston, then temperatures quickly drop in the afternoon.

GFS forecast for temperatures starting at midnight tonight and ending at 7am Wednesday. Loop provided by WeatherBell.

Tuesday night: Any lingering snow showers end in the evening, then clearing, breezy, and colder. Low 13-20.

Wednesday: Sunny, breezy, and cold. High 25-32.

Thursday: Intervals of clouds and sun, a few flurries are possible at night. High 34-41.

Friday: Sunshine to start, then clouds move in during the afternoon. High 43-50.

Saturday: Sunshine and some afternoon clouds. High 31-38.

Sunday: A mix of sun and clouds. High 37-44.

Boston May Need an Ark, Bismarck Needs a Plow

Two developing storm systems – one off the East Coast and one in Plains, will both wreak havoc in the next few days, but for very different reasons.

Two low pressure areas are developing off the East Coast early this morning. The northern system is the stronger of the two, but the southern one is being monitored by the National Hurricane Center. It has the potential to develop into a tropical depression or subtropical storm later today. Whether it does or not, these two low pressure areas will eventually merge and become a rather strong non-tropical system over the next 24 hours. There is very little in the way of steering currents right now, so the system will just meander around off the coast until Saturday.

Low pressure won’t be in a hurry to go anywhere off the East Coast for the next few days. Loop provided by Tropical Tidbits.

As the system drifts northward, it will produce gusty winds along the coast, especially in New England. Tides are astronomically low at the moment, but will be rising later this week, so coastal flooding, while not a major concern, will still be possible in some locations. A coastal flood watch has been issued for parts of Plymouth County, Cape Cod, and Martha’s Vineyard. Rough seas will also be a large concern for marine interests, with Storm Warnings now in effect offshore. However, the biggest concern and also the biggest question mark right now is heavy rainfall.

Wind gusts in excess of 50 mph are possible across much of Southern New England. Yeah, that blows. Image provided by WeatherBell.

While the storm will likely spread some heavy rainfall into New England, there is still plenty of uncertainty as to how far north the heavy rain gets, as well as how much rain actually falls. Some of the models are producing extremely heavy rainfall, with totals in excess of 10″ in southeastern Massachusetts! While we aren’t buying the extreme totals, the fact that most of the models are showing this potential means that some very heavy rain is likely, especially south of Boston, where a Flood Watch has been issued.

That’s a lot of water coming out of the sky over the next 3 days. Some models have even more than this! Image provided by WeatherBell.

Thanks to some dry weather over the past couple of months, we shouldn’t have to worry about any flash flooding, though downpours will result in ponding of water on roadways, and some locations normally prone to flooding in heavy rain will also have problems. However, since we’re expecting a prolonged period of heavy rain, flooding is still a possibility in some locations, other than the ones we just mentioned, especially some of the smaller streams and rivers. Strong winds will also start to take some of the leaves off of trees, which may clog up storm drains, resulting in some flooding as well.

Recent dryness means that flash flooding is not likely in New England with this storm. Image provided the the Northeast River Forecast Center.

While all this is taking place off the East Coast, some very cold air will settle into the Rockies and Plains states as low pressure starts to develop across the Central Plains. Record lows are likely to be set in numerous locations over the next few mornings across the region. This system will head north-northeastward while strengthening. The system isn’t expected to become that strong, but with a large high pressure area building in behind it, it will produce some strong winds. It will also draw warm and moist air northward from the Gulf of Mexico. As this air runs into the much colder air on the backside of the storm, the first significant snowstorm of the season is expected to develop across the Northern Plains.

Winter Storm Watches and warnings have been posted from parts of Idaho Montana, and Wyoming into parts of northern Nebraska and the Dakotas as well as northwestern Minnesota. across Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, snowfall totals of 6-12 inches are possible, with some heavier amounts in the higher elevations. The biggest issues are expected across the Dakotas and northwestern Minnesota.

Wind gusts of 40-50 mph or more are expected across the Northern Plains. Image provided by WeatherBell.

The precipitation will start as rain across this area later today, but strong northerly winds will usher much colder weather in, changing the rain to snow from west to east on Thursday. Like its East Coast counterpart, this storm won’t move at a rapid pace, so snow, possibly heavy at times will continue across this area into early Saturday, with snow showers lingering into Sunday.

This storm also has some questions with it’s precipitation shield. While heavy snow is likely across a large area, how much falls and where the heaviest snow will fall is still a question. Right now, it looks like the heaviest snow will fall from central South Dakota into central and eastern North Dakota, but that still could change. As for amounts, many areas could see more than a foot, with totals in excess of 2 feet possible in some areas. The snow will be accompanied by winds gusting to 40-50 mph, resulting in blizzard conditions, especially late Thursday into Friday.

Welcome to winter! Snowfall totals of 1-2 feet or more are possible across the Dakotas. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

While snow in October is not unusual across this region, snowfall amounts of this magnitude this early in the year are extraordinarily rare. In Grand Forks, ND, the largest October snowstorm on record occurred October 24-26, 2001, and it dropped 10.9″ on the city. In Fargo, ND, the largest October snowstorm on record is only 8.1″ on October 30-31, 1951. For Pierre, SD, the October snowstorm of record occurred October 30-31, 1943, and it only produce 7.2″ of snow. Current model forecasts are forecasting amounts that are 3-4 times the records. These model forecasts are likely too high, but it seems likely that many of these October records are going to be obliterated in the next few days. Hopefully, this is not a sign of what’s to come this winter.

Here Comes the Heat

Excessive Heat Warnings and Heat Advisories are in effect right through the weekend across much of the Northeast. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

We warned you in our Weekly Outlook that it was coming, and it’s just about here – some brutal heat and humidity is expected for the next few days.

High pressure at the surface and aloft will be responsible for our heat and humidity through the weekend. Image provided by Tropical Tidbits.

Friday will start out with some lingering clouds and a little fog, but the sun will return and as winds shift into the southwest, so will the heat and humidity. Many locations will reach 90 on Friday, but not everyone. Dewpoints will get into the lower 70s, sending the heat index well into the 90s across the region. At night, with plenty of humidity around, temperatures likely won’t drop below the middle 70s across the region, making for an uncomfortable sleeping night if you don’t have air conditioning. This sets the stage for Saturday.

Saturday will likely be the hottest day we’ve had around here in several years. Add in the high humidity (dewpoints again in the lower to middle 70s), and well, it’ll be downright brutal outside. Since it will already be warm to start, with plenty of sunshine, temperatures will quickly jump in the morning, with many locations likely reaching 90 by lunchtime, but it won’t stop there. Temperatures will likely get into the upper 90s, with some spots, especially in the Merrimack Valley, possibly topping 100 degrees.

It’s going to be hot on Saturday. Really hot (by New England standards). Image provided by WeatherBell.

How rare is a 100-degree reading? Since the Merrimack Valley is the likeliest spot, here is some data for Lowell. In the 131 years of temperature records for Lowell, the city has topped 100 degrees just 35 times, or about once every four years. However, it’s actually been 8 years since Lowell hit 100, with a high of 102 on July 22, 2011. Before that, you have to go back to 2002, when it hit 101 on August 14, and 100 on July 3. So that’s just 3 times in the past 17 years. Skewing that average of once every 4 years is the fact that Lowell reached 100 5 times in 1911, 4 times in 1949, and 5 times in 1952. That’s 14 among those 3 years alone. July 22, 2011 was also the last time it reached 100 at Logan Airport in Boston, where they’ve only hit 100 25 times in 147 years of records.

With temperatures in the upper 90s (or higher), and dewpoints in the lower to middle 70s, that means that the heat index will be in the range of 105 to 110 degrees or higher during the hottest part of the day. If you have any plans to be outside, whether it be by the pool, at the beach, at the NASCAR activities in Loudon, or anywhere else, make sure you try to stay hydrated, and take plenty of breaks in the shade if you can.

Heat indices will likely be well over 100 across most of the region Saturday afternoon. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

Saturday night will be another uncomfortable night, with low temperatures only dropping into the middle to upper 70s. Some of the urban locations, like Boston, may not drop below 80. This leads in to another brutally hot and humid day on Sunday. Once again, most places will likely reach 90 by lunchtime and keep going. High temperatures will again get into the upper 90s across the area, with some 100-degree readings possible. Dewpoints will remain in the upper 60s to lower 70s, so we’re looking at heat indices in the 105 to 110 degree range once again.

Sunday looks to be another scorcher, but we’re not quite convinced it will be as hot as this model is showing. Image provided by WeatherBell.

By late Sunday, a cold front will start to approach, and it may produce some showers and thunderstorms during the evening and overnight. Behind it, much more seasonable air and lower humidity settles in for Monday. There may be a little relief in spots before that as well. Thunderstorm complexes in the Midwest will ride along the top of the upper-level ridge, as it typical in the summer. Right now, it looks like this may happen both late Friday and late Saturday. Unfortunately, it looks like these may fizzle before reaching the Northeast, and if they don’t, they will likely pass southwest of our area. So, we’re not holding out hope for these to help cool us off.

Long range forecasts show that some heat may return late next week into next weekend, but not nearly to the extent of what we’ll be dealing with for the next few days.

Weekly Outlook: March 4-10, 2019

The first full week of March is shaping up to be a wintry one, mainly in the temperature department, but a little in the precipitation department as well.

The snow will be ending across the region this morning as our storm system pulls away, with some clearing this afternoon. Temperatures may even get a tad mild, allowing for some melting to take place. However, we’re going to drop back below freezing tonight, so anything that melted with ice back up. If you’re heading out this evening, watch out for slippery conditions on untreated surfaces.

Temperatures could get into the middle to upper 30s this afternoon, allowing some of the fresh snow to melt. Image provided by WeatherBell.

After that, a rather cold airmass will settle into the region for Tuesday through Thursday. While temperatures won’t be as extreme as in the Plains states, we’re still looking at temperatures that are 10-20 degrees below normal, especially Wednesday and Thursday. A couple of upper-level disturbances will also be moving through the region, which may produce a few snow showers at times, especially Wednesday and Thursday.

Temperatures will be 10-20 degrees below normal during the middle of the week. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

By Friday, high pressure will move offshore and temperatures will start to moderate. That just means it won’t be quite as cold, but temperatures will still be below normal. The weekend is where things get complicated.

It looks like we’re going to have 2 systems impact the area, a weak one on Saturday, and a stronger one on Saturday. Given that these are both several days away, nothing is set in stone at this point. The first system passes south of New England on Saturday. There is at least one model that has it pass too far south to have any impact on us, but most bring it close enough to spread in some light precipitation. Right now, it looks likely mainly some light snow, but it could be some rain as well, especially along the south coast.

The stronger storm comes in on Sunday. This one looks like it will produce some rain across the area. However, some models are showing temperatures below freezing at the start, which means we’d be looking at yet another situation where we have snow to sleet or freezing rain inland and rain along the coast. Again, this is a week away, so trying to nail down details at this point is a futile exercise. Just be aware that next Sunday could be messy, especially north and west of Boston.

Daylight Saving Time starts at 2am Sunday. Sunset next Sunday evening will be at approximately 6:45pm. Image provided by the National Weather Service.

Monday: Snow (rain on the Cape) ending early, some sunny breaks develop in the afternoon. High 33-40.

Monday night: Becoming mostly clear. Low 9-16.

Tuesday: Morning sunshine, afternoon clouds, slight chance for a snow flurry. High 24-31.

Tuesday night: Clear to partly cloudy. Low 10-17.

Wednesday: A sunny start, then clouding up again, breezy. A snow shower is possible. High 19-26.

Thursday: Intervals of clouds and sunshine, with a few afternoon snow showers possible. High 20-27.

Friday: Plenty of clouds. Light snow or rain developing at night. High 28-35.

Saturday: Cloudy with some snow or rain showers possible in the morning. High 31-38.

Sunday: Cloudy with a chance of rain, possibly some snow or a wintry mix across the interior. High 34-41.

Weekly Outlook: January 28 – February 3, 2019

The winter of little snow rolls on this week, with just a little bit of snow and more cold weather. Don’t worry, it won’t last too long, and it could be a LOT worse.

The week starts off with high pressure building in, giving us sunshine and seasonably cold conditions. Clouds will start to move in during the evening as low pressure heads towards the Midwest. As this system moves across the Great Lakes on Tuesday, snow will develop across the region Tuesday afternoon. A secondary area of low pressure will develop across the Mid-Atlantic states during the afternoon. This will help bring milder air into the region, changing to snow to rain during the afternoon and evening hours. Whether or not this changeover makes it into southern and central NH is still a question mark. Either way, this doesn’t look like a big snow producer, with a few inches across central and southern NH, and an inch or less elsewhere.

This storm is not expected to be a big snow-producer across the area. Image provided by Pivotal Weather.

Once that secondary low pressure area moves past the area, colder air will quickly move back in, changing any rain back to snow before it ends towards daybreak. That’s not the end of the story though. We could see some sunshine develop in the afternoon, but an arctic front will move through late in the day. This front may produce some snow showers or squalls, which could impact the Wednesday evening commute, but they may hold off until a little later. These squalls may briefly lower visibility, and could drop a quick half inch or so, but the bigger story is what comes in behind the front.

Wind chills will be well below zero when most of you are heading out to work or school Thursday morning. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

Skies clear out Wednesday night as high pressure builds in, ushering in much colder air. While it won’t be quite as cold as last Monday when most of the area had high temperatures around 5 degrees, we’ll have more wind this time, so wind chills will be well below zero on Thursday. So, how could it be worse? When this airmass moves into the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest later Tuesday into Wednesday, temperatures will be a LOT colder. Across parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota, low temperatures will drop near or below -40 Thursday morning, with afternoon highs not reaching -30 in some areas. This is actual air temperature, not wind chill. So what will the wind chills be? How does -60 to -65 sound? We’re not quite sure why people voluntarily live in this area, but they do.

Yes, wind chills could be lower than -60 in parts of the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains Wednesday morning. That is beyond ridiculously cold to us. Image provided by Weathermodels.com

Getting back to our weather, Thursday night will be chilly, but we’ll start to moderate on Friday as high pressure shifts to the east. Oh, it’ll still be cold, just not as cold as Thursday. The gradual warmup will continue on Saturday as high pressure moves offshore and then a warm front moves through on Sunday with milder weather moving in.

Monday: Mostly sunny and chilly. High 24-31.

Monday night: Increasing clouds. Low 15-22.

Tuesday: Cloudy with light snow developing in the afternoon, quickly changing to rain south of Boston. High 30-37.

Tuesday night: Light snow likely across central and southern NH, changing to rain from the MA/NH border southward during the evening. Rain changes back to snow everywhere after midnight, ending towards daybreak. Temperatures may rise a bit through midnight, then drop back to 22-29 by daybreak.

Wednesday: Breezy with any snow showers ending early, then skies become partly to mostly sunny. Snow showers or squalls are possible in the evening. High 26-33, but temperatures will quickly plunge at night.

Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny, breezy, and much colder. High 7-14.

Friday: Sunshine and afternoon clouds, still cold. High 17-24.

Saturday: A mix of sun and clouds, still chilly. High 22-29.

Sunday: Partly sunny and milder. High 34-41.