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Smorgasbord Of Icy Precip Affects Western & Central Mass From Late Sun Night Through New Year's Eve

For The Rest Of Today: A mild, but cloudy rest of the day is expected across Western & Central Mass. A spotty rain shower or two is also possible at times, but a majority of the area should remain dry. High temperatures this afternoon will be between 44 and 49 Degrees.

Tonight: A cold front will push through the region this evening and our wind direction will shift from the southwest into the northwest. Cloudy skies this evening will give way to clear to partly cloudy skies after midnight tonight. Low temperatures tonight will be near 30 Degrees.

Saturday: Sunny to partly sunny skies are expected on Saturday with high temperatures near 45 Degrees.

Saturday Night: Clear to partly cloudy skies are expected on Saturday night with low temperatures near 25 Degrees.

Sunday: High pressure will remain in control of our weather on Sunday with sunny to partly sunny skies expected in the morning. During Sunday afternoon, an increase in clouds is expected as a storm system begins to approach us from the southwest. High temperatures Sunday will be between 40 and 45 Degrees.

A Messy Icy Storm Is Expected From Late Sunday Night Through New Year’s Eve: A strong storm system is expected to head into the upper Great Lakes region on Sunday into Monday. As it does so, it will bump into a strong high pressure system over southern Canada. This interaction could do a couple of things – one, it could cause the development of a second low pressure system near the southern New England coast and two, it could cause colder air to funnel southward into our area leading to a potentially icy precipitation event for early next week.

This storm may come in two parts:

Part 1 of this storm is expected from late Sunday night through the day on Monday: Mild air ahead of a warm front will bump into some chillier air over southern Canada and northern New England. This colder air is expected to drain down into parts of Western and Central Mass (especially north of the Mass Pike) leading to a mixed bag of freezing rain and sleet to begin late Sunday night and continue through Monday north of the Mass Pike.

Along and south of the Mass Pike, enough mild air may be left over for the precipitation to remain mostly a very cold rain from late Sunday night through Monday.

With all of that said, there continues to be A LOT of uncertainty as to how far south the colder air will drain into southern New England and how deep will this cold air be. At this point, I think it is most possible that accumulating freezing rain and sleet will occur at least for areas north of the Mass Pike. With that said, it is quite possible that the changeover line from rain to freezing rain and sleet may push as far south as Springfield and Hartford & this is something that will need to be watched closely.

It needs to be stressed that this storm will pack a lot of moisture with it. This is troublesome because areas that receive an extended period of freezing rain and sleet could see significant ice accumulations.

For Now, the dominant precipitation type from Part 1 of this storm from late Sunday night through Monday will be as follows:

Freezing Rain & Sleet North of the Mass Pike, including Amherst, Northampton, South Hadley, Belchertown, Ware, Worcester, Fitchburg and Gardner. Significant travel problems are likely.

Mostly A Cold Rain Along & South of the Mass Pike, including Springfield, Agawam, Monson, Holland, Sturbridge, Auburn, Millbury & Oxford as well as Enfield, Windsor Locks & Hartford, CT.

Be aware that this is a low confidence, high uncertainty weather forecast and significant changes to the forecast are likely. This is why I have not yet posted a “early-call” forecast snow/ice accumulation map for this storm.

Part 2 of this storm is expected from Monday night through the day on New Year’s Eve: The second part of this storm will be caused by a developing second low pressure system that will move from the New Jersey coastline to near Long Island on Monday night and then into the Gulf of Maine on New Year’s Eve.

This second storm system could prolong the freezing rain and sleet north of the Mass Pike on Monday evening with the icy precipitation possibly changing to all snow late Monday night with snow continuing north of the Mass Pike through New Year’s Eve.

Along and south of the Mass Pike, it is possible that the cold rain will continue through Monday night before changing to a period of snow during the day on New Year’s Eve.

This storm is finally expected to come to an end during New Year’s Eve night.

As I have mentioned many times before, both parts of this storm have a high amount of uncertainty to it and the forecasts with it will likely change in the coming days. Given the potential for long duration ice storm to impact areas north of the Mass Pike from late Sunday night right into New Year’s Eve, it is a storm to watch extremely closely. Thank you for reading my latest forecast for Western and Central Mass.

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