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Very Cold Weather Expected Tonight & Saturday Across Western & Central Mass

For The Rest Of Today: Cloudy skies are expected throughout the rest of today across Western and Central Mass as a very strong low pressure system passes well east of the Cape. All precipitation with this storm system looks to stay just east of our area. This means that dry weather is expected throughout the rest of today. Temperatures the rest of today will reach between 35 and 40 Degrees early this afternoon with temperatures falling to near 30 Degrees by mid to late afternoon. It will become windy this afternoon with north winds gusting up to 30 mph at times. Tonight: & Saturday: Windy conditions combined with an Arctic air mass will lead to very cold temperatures and even colder wind chill temperatures tonight and Saturday. Tonight will be clear to partly cloudy with low temperatures near Zero. North winds will gust up to 30 to 35 mph at times leading to wind chill temperatures of around 20 below zero. Saturday will be a very cold and windy day under sunny skies. High temperatures Saturday will struggle to make it to 10 Degrees. Northwest winds will gust up to 30 to 35 mph leading to wind chill temperatures of around 20 below zero. Saturday Night & Sunday: Clear skies are expected on Saturday night with low temperatures near Zero. Sunday looks sunny, however, some increase in cloudiness can be expected by late afternoon. High temperatures Sunday will be near 25 Degrees. A Significant Winter Storm Is Expected To Affect Western & Central Mass From About Midnight Sunday Night Through The Day On Monday With Snow, Sleet, Rain & Gusty Winds: An area of low pressure is expected to track across eastern parts of North and South Carolina on Sunday before tracking up near or right along the Mid-Atlantic and New England coasts on Sunday night and Monday. This storm system is expected to bring a messy mixture of snow, sleet and rain to Western and Central Mass beginning around midnight or so Sunday night and continuing into much of the day on Monday. How much of each precipitation type accumulates is going to depend on the exact track of the low pressure system and how quickly the milder air works into the region. Trying to figure out how much snow may accumulate before any changeover to rain is proving to be a real challenge. Some of the weather forecast guidance, such as the GFS model is showing the cold air hanging on for a while leading to several hours of snow and a brief change to rain near the end. Other guidance shows a brief period of snow with a few inches of accumulation followed by a change to sleet and rain. The differences between these two ideas are pretty notable with the guidance showing more prolonged snowfall forecasts upwards to 6 to 12 inches of snow across the entire area. The guidance showing a quicker change to rain and sleet is much lower for snowfall with accumulations as low as 2 to 4 inches or 3 to 6 inches. Here Are My Thoughts: For now, I still think that the low pressure system may move north-northeastward across easternmost Connecticut and Rhode Island before moving along either the I-95/Route 128 corridor or the I-495 corridor on Monday morning. The question then becomes whether the cold air becomes tucked in across all of Western and Central Mass leading to a much slower transition from snow to sleet and rain or will the mild air overwhelm the area leading to most areas turning to rain and sleet during Monday morning after a few hours of accumulating snow late Sunday night. At this point, I think that three areas of Western and Central Mass have the greatest chance of seeing the cold air hanging on the longest with a slower changeover from snow to rain and sleet. The first is across the northern Worcester Hills; The second is across the Hilltowns of Western Mass, especially in the upper Pioneer Valley; The third is across the Berkshires. Across these areas (the northern Worcester Hills, the Hilltowns of Western Mass and the Berkshires), it appears that snow will begin around midnight on Sunday night and continue throughout the rest of the night on Sunday night and throughout Monday morning. The snow may then end around early afternoon Monday with some leftover drizzle expected throughout the rest of the afternoon Monday. All precipitation ends by late afternoon Monday. Snow amounts across these three areas may amount to somewhere in the 8 to 12 inch range. It should be noted and emphasized that this will be a wet, sticky and heavy snow. Across the rest of Western and Central Mass, snow is expected to begin around midnight on Sunday night and then continue through the rest of the night on Sunday night. On Monday morning, a changeover from snow to rain and sleet is expected to occur from southeast to northwest. How quick this occurs is still to be determined. Obviously, the quicker the milder air rushes in, the lower the snow totals. At this point, I think that the lower Pioneer Valley of Western Mass and extreme southern and southeastern parts of Worcester County will change to rain and sleet first, possibly as early as sunrise Monday morning. Rain and sleet then continues throughout Monday morning before it tapers off to drizzle during the afternoon. All precipitation ends by late afternoon Monday. Snow amounts of somewhere in the 2 to 4 inch range seems possible. Further north, a change from snow to rain and sleet will be a bit slower to occur and looks to occur in the Worcester Hills around the 9 to 11 am time frame Monday morning. Rain and sleet then continues through midday and tapers off to drizzle during the afternoon. All precipitation ends by late afternoon Monday. Snow amounts of 4 to 8 inches are a possibility. I will be completely transparent with you and say that this forecast still has a fairly high level of uncertainty to it. In terms of the uncertainty in the snow amounts, it all comes down to how quickly the milder air moves in and also how intense the snow will fall late Sunday night into Monday morning. If the cold air hangs on longer, then we’d see higher snow totals than what I’m forecasting. Alternatively, if the cold air is completely pushed out by the rush of mild air, then my current forecast snow totals would be way too high and they’d need to be lowered substantially. In addition to the snow, sleet and rain, it is also expected to be windy throughout later Sunday night into Monday with wind gusts of up to 35 to 40 mph expected. This is a storm that I’m watching extremely closely and I will continue to have frequent updates as needed.

Tuesday Through Thursday: Generally dry weather is expected for the middle part of next week. Tuesday is expected to be partly sunny with high temperatures between 25 and 30 Degrees. Wednesday looks cloudy with high temperatures near 35 Degrees. Thursday is expected to be partly sunny with high temperatures between 25 and 30 Degrees.

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