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A Return To Very Cold Weather Expected This Weekend Across Western & Central Mass

For This Afternoon: Quiet weather is expected this afternoon across the area with much milder temperatures expected, as compared to yesterday. High temperatures this afternoon will be near 35 Degrees. It will also be windy this afternoon with southwest winds gusting up to 35 mph at times. Tonight & Thursday: Cloudy skies are expected tonight and Thursday morning with some sunshine returning for Thursday afternoon. In addition, a few snow showers are possible during Thursday morning, especially across Western Mass as a piece of atmospheric energy moves through. Low temperatures tonight will be near 25 Degrees. High temperatures Thursday will be between 40 and 45 Degrees. Thursday Night & Friday: An area of low pressure is expected to take shape off of the North Carolina coast on Thursday night and then pass well east of the Cape on Friday. This type of track is such that it should be a miss for Western and Central Mass, although we might have to keep an eye on southeastern parts of Worcester County (Route 146 corridor) for the possibility of the western extent of the snow shield affecting this part of Worcester County late Thursday night and Friday morning. Cloudy skies are expected across the entire area on Thursday night with perhaps some light snow across just southeastern Worcester County very late Thursday night. Low temperatures Thursday night will be near 25 Degrees. Friday will start out cloudy across the entire area and some light snow may linger across southeastern Worcester County during the morning. If, and that is a big if, the snow shield does make it as far west as the Route 146 corridor, any snow accumulations would be anywhere from a dusting to perhaps one inch. Skies will become partly sunny during Friday afternoon with a gusty north wind expected. High temperatures Friday will be near 35 Degrees. Saturday & Sunday: An area of high pressure will move over the area this weekend with no weather problems expected, besides the cold temperatures. Saturday is expected to be a sunny to partly sunny day with high temperatures between 10 and 15 Degrees. Sunday looks sunny, however, some increase in cloudiness can be expected by late afternoon. High temperatures Sunday will be near 25 Degrees. Sunday Night & Monday: An area of low pressure is expected to track to near the South and North Carolina coastline on Sunday and then track up near or right along the Mid-Atlantic and New England coasts on Sunday night and Monday. There continues to be a lot of uncertainty as to the exact track of this storm system. This is important because the track of the storm will determine precipitation type and how much of each type of precipitation accumulates. Recent trends in the weather forecast guidance are for a more inland track that takes the low pressure system up into central and eastern New York State. This has led to guidance now showing a messy situation of heavy snow to start with that changes to ice and then heavy rain. I can tell you that while I’m not totally convinced that this will take that far of an inland track. The reason for my skepticism in the weather forecast guidance is that the air mass out ahead of this storm is going to be quite cold and it’s usually hard for a storm system to drive a path right through this sort of air mass. Instead, we usually see low pressure systems move just to the south and east of the Arctic air mass. Should this occur, it would mean a track that takes the storm either right near the south coast of New England and the Cape or just inland across the I-95 corridor leading to all snow across Western Mass and a snow to ice scenario across Central Mass. One thing that is for sure with this storm – it’s going to be very energetic and it’s going to pack a lot of moisture. This means that heavy amounts of precipitation is likely no matter what form it takes. Here Are My Thoughts: For now, I think that the low pressure system may move north-northeastward across Rhode Island and eastern Mass on Monday morning. This would lead to all snow across Western Mass into the western and northern Worcester Hills with heavy amounts of snow possible. This snow would begin just after midnight on Sunday night and continue through much of the day on Monday before ending late Monday afternoon. For southern and eastern parts of Worcester County (east of I-84), the precipitation may start out as heavy snow beginning just after midnight Sunday night and continuing into the Monday morning commute. The snow may then change to a messy mixture of sleet and freezing rain later Monday morning that continues into Monday afternoon. All precipitation then ends later Monday afternoon. Even with the changeover to ice, snow amounts across southern and eastern Worcester County could be significant. In addition to the heavy precipitation, it is likely to be windy throughout the storm with wind gusts up to 35 to 40 mph at times. This means that blowing snow is likely across Western Mass and the western and the northern Worcester Hills throughout the storm. It also means that blowing snow is likely late Sunday night into Monday morning followed by wind blown sleet and freezing rain Monday afternoon across southern and eastern parts of Worcester County. This is a storm that I’m watching extremely closely and I will have frequent updates as needed.

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