For Tonight & Thursday: An area of high pressure will push to the east tonight while a strong low pressure system pushes into the central Great Lakes region by Thursday evening. Partly cloudy skies are expected this evening with skies becoming cloudy after midnight tonight. Low temperatures will be between 20 and 25 Degrees. Winds will be Southwest at 5 to 10 mph. Thursday is expected to be cloudy and I do still think that rain with that storm system will hold off until evening. This means that dry conditions still looks likely all day on Thursday. High temperatures will be between 40 and 45 Degrees. Winds will be East at 5 to 10 mph in the morning and East at 10 to 20 mph in the afternoon. A Strong Storm System Will Bring Heavy Rain, Strong Winds On Thursday Night & Friday & Then A “Flash Freeze” Occurring Friday Evening: A strong storm system is expected to track from the eastern Ohio Valley on Thursday evening to western New York State by Friday morning. This storm system is then anticipated to move into Quebec province during Friday afternoon and Friday night. Because this storm system will be tracking to the west of our area, this is going to be a nearly all rain event. The exception may be at the very start of the storm Thursday evening when precipitation may start as a very brief period of snow and sleet, especially across areas north of the Mass Pike and in the Berkshires. The other exception looks to be at the very end of the storm when Arctic air rushes into the region causing the rain to change to a period of snow everywhere late Friday afternoon and Friday evening before it ends. There are three threats with this storm system and they are strong winds, heavy rainfall with street, highway and poor drainage flooding and the possibility of river and stream flooding and a flash freeze at the very end of the storm. Strong Winds: The pressure gradient between the strong low pressure system moving into Quebec province and a strong high pressure system over Newfoundland and Labrador will lead to strong winds to be a real concern with this storm system. It appears that there may be two periods where there’s going to be potentially really strong winds, along with an enhanced threat for downed trees, downed power lines and power outages. The first looks to be from mid to late morning Friday through the early afternoon hours on Friday when south to southeast winds may gust up to 50 mph thanks to a low-level jet moving through the region. The second period of potentially very strong winds looks to be between about mid to late afternoon Friday through Friday evening when the Arctic air rushes into the region. During this time, southwest winds may gust up to 50-60 mph at times, especially when the Arctic air initially moves in late Friday afternoon. Heavy Rainfall With Street, Highway & Poor Drainage Flooding & The Threat For River & Stream Flooding (Especially Along The Connecticut River): Heavy rain is expected to occur throughout Thursday night and Friday with total rainfall amounts of around 2 inches expected with local amounts of up to 3 inches possible. This will lead to significant and widespread ponding of water on streets, highways and areas that have poor drainage. In addition, there’s also the possibility for minor river and stream flooding. In particular, the Connecticut River is of concern to at least see minor amounts of flooding due to the combination of heavy rain and snow melt in Vermont and New Hampshire contributing to the river rising with these river rises moving downstream into Western Mass. A “Flash Freeze” With Very Icy Conditions Expected By Friday Evening: The rush of Arctic air will push into the area from southwest to northeast, first across Western Mass during the late afternoon hours of Friday and then across Central Mass during the early afternoon hours. This will lead to both a rapid drop in temperatures and also the possibility of a brief period of snow across the area during the late afternoon and evening hours of Friday with a dusting of snow possible. This rapid drop in temperatures could lead to a “flash freeze” of everything with very icy conditions possible. Current indications reveal that temperatures will fall below freezing across Western Mass by about 5-6 pm and then across Central Mass around 6 pm or so on Friday. This means that extreme caution is going to be needed if you are out and about after 5-6 pm Friday. Why am I so concerned about how quickly it’s going to become icy? It’s because the temperatures will fall from about 40-45 Degrees at 4 pm to 25-30 Degrees by 6 pm to 20-25 Degrees by 7 pm across Western Mass. Across Central Mass, I’m forecasting that temperatures will fall from about 40-45 Degrees around 4 pm to about 35 Degrees by 6 pm to near 25 Degrees by 7 pm. This almost immediate 10 degree drop in temperature to well below freezing will cause water on streets, highways, parking lots and driveways to freeze almost immediately leading to very icy conditions and thus, this is why it’s called a “flash freeze”. So, Let’s Break It Down A Little More In Terms Of Details: Thursday Night: Rain is expected to overspread Western Mass around the 6-7 pm time frame Thursday evening and then begin across Central Mass by about 7-8 pm Thursday evening. The rain is then expected to become heavy at times across the entire area by midnight. Heavy rain is then expected after midnight on Thursday night across the entire area. Temperatures will rise from the mid to upper 30s during the evening to the mid to upper 40s by Friday morning. Winds on Thursday night will be East to Southeast and increase from 10 to 20 mph during the evening to 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 40-45 mph late at night. Friday: Heavy rain is expected throughout the morning, which will become more showery in nature during the afternoon. The heavy rain during Thursday night and Friday is very likely to lead to street, highway and poor drainage flooding. In addition, there’s the possibility for some stream and river flooding across the region. As we get into late Friday afternoon, the rain will change to some snow by about the 5-6 pm time frame. In addition, a rapid drop in temperatures to well below freezing will lead to a “flash freeze” of everything with very icy conditions expected, first across Western Mass by about 5-6 pm and then across Central Mass around 6 pm or so. To make things even more icy, any snow that falls on ice will lead to even more slippery conditions during Friday evening. Any snow looks to come to an end by about midnight Friday night with a dusting of snow expected. It’s also expected to be very windy throughout Friday and Friday night. During the day Friday, South to Southeast winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 50 mph are expected. An enhanced period where wind gusts of up to 60 mph looks possible during the mid and late afternoon hours on Friday. On Friday night, Southwest winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 50 to 60 mph are expected during the evening and Southwest winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 to 50 mph are expected after midnight. The strong winds on Friday and Friday night could lead to downed trees, downed power lines and power outages. High temperatures during the day Friday will be between 55 and 60 Degrees with temperatures rapidly falling to near 30 Degrees by 6 pm or so Friday. Low temperatures Friday night will be between 10 and 15 Degrees and this means that everything will be frozen solid by sunrise Christmas Eve morning. Christmas Eve & Christmas Day: Christmas Eve is expected to be partly sunny, windy and bitterly cold with high temperatures struggling to make it to between 20 and25 Degrees. Wind chill temperatures will hover between Zero and 10 Degrees all day long. Christmas Day looks sunny to partly sunny, windy and cold with high temperatures near 25 Degrees. Monday & Tuesday: Monday looks partly sunny with high temperatures near 30 Degrees. Tuesday is expected to be partly sunny with high temperatures near 35 Degrees.
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