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Arctic Blast: Wind Chill Warnings, Ground Blizzards and the Latest on Timing

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

A rare (for New England) wind chill warning has been issued for all of New England except for southern Connecticut, where a wind chill advisory is in effect. Northern Maine is under a blizzard warning for a potential ground blizzard. While New England sees a wind chill advisory or two a winter, a wind chill warning in this part of the country does not occur very often.


There are signals that wind chills could approach -60° in northern Maine. The White and Green Mountains could approach -40° to -50° The rest of New England will see wind chills approach or exceed -30° on Saturday morning. Wind chills in northern New England are said to be "once in a generation" by the National Weather Service.


Boston has declared a "cold weather emergency". Boston Centers for Youth & Families will open warming centers during normal operating hours around the city. Boston police will be handing out hats and gloves to those in need and the south station will remain open all night.


Maine, which is set to be the hardest hit from this arctic blast, will have warming shelters open across the state. A full list can be seen here.





A new threat has increased with this front. That is the potential for snow squalls in and north of the mountains as the front comes through. There is not much moisture with this front, so squalls will likely not make it south of the mountains. In northern Maine, the squalls combined with blowing snow on the ground could create a very rare (for New England) ground blizzard. The National Weather Service of Caribou, Maine states:


"In addition to the wind chills, blowing and drifting snow will cause significant travel problems, especially across northeastern portions of the forecast area where land use is more agricultural...Travel over open areas exposed to northwest winds will be dangerous at best and impossible at worst due to ground blizzard conditions and significant drifting making some roads impassable."

With all of that said, here is the very latest on timing and impacts of this epic blast of air:


FRIDAY


In northern areas, the front will likely come through overnight Thursday to Friday morning. Stowe, Vermont's high will be a mere -1°. By the evening, the temperature will have fallen to near -10°. The sharp drop in temperatures will be felt region wide. Boston will see a morning high of 30° with temperatures falling to the single digits by the afternoon as the front sweeps through southern New England during the day on Friday. Northern Maine will likely drop below zero Thursday night and stay below zero until Sunday morning.


FRIDAY NIGHT


Temperatures will continue their plummet throughout the night. Lows will likely bottom out in the negative single digits in much of Massachusetts. Northern New England will see temperatures drop into the -10s to -20s. These are air temperatures. Winds will be very gusty during this time, with 20 to 30mph winds likely throughout the region. This will create wind chills in excess of -20 to -30 throughout the region.



SATURDAY


*LIFE THREATENING, "ONCE IN A GENERATION" WIND CHILLS IN NORTHERN AREAS*


By early Saturday morning, New England will be firmly in the grips of the arctic air mass. Morning lows will range from the negative single digits south to the -20s north. Wind chills will be in the -20s to -30s in southern New England. In northern New England, the wind chills will truly be dangerous, with lows hitting the -40s to -50s. Mountainous areas and areas north of the mountains could see wind chills approach or even exceed -60°.


Afternoon highs have trended upward over the course of the week. Highs will be in the mid teens to low 20s in southern New England. Highs will be in the single digits, on either side of zero, to low teens in northern New England. Despite the increase in air temperatures, wind chill values have dropped even colder. This is because of an increase in forecast wind speed.


SATURDAY NIGHT


Temperatures overnight Saturday will be similar to lows seen on Friday night. The high pressure system will depart on Saturday, but radiational cooling will remain strong and the high pressure's influence will remain in place despite its departure. Winds will begin to back off gradually.


SUNDAY


Despite the day starting off similar to Saturday morning temperature wise, the afternoon will be far different. The temperatures will rise almost as quickly as they fell on Friday. Sunday afternoon highs will be in the 40s for southern New England and the 30s in northern New England. Some areas of southern New England may even approach 50 as a warm front lifts into the region.


Stay with New England Storm Center for complete coverage of this arctic blast and everything weather in New England.

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