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Cold Front Sets up Cold Thursday; Warming and Unsettled Weather Looking Beyond

A powerful cold front swept through New England last night, ushering in a much colder air mass for the region. Temperatures plummeted as the front moved through. Some areas saw temperature drops of 10-15° in an hour. Burlington, Vermont saw a drop of over 40° in 12 hours (7pm-7am). Factoring in the wind, the feels-like temperature dropped about 50° in that span.

Worcester, Massachusetts saw the front move into the city during the 9pm hour. The city saw temperatures crash below freezing from just over 50° in the span of a few hours. The city dropped about 30° during the same 12 hour span as Burlington.

Worcester, MA hourly weather conditions on February 28:

The only way to see such a rapid temperature drop is for winds to whip. Maximum gusts of 50-60mph were reported across New England. These winds did cause the typical tree and power line damage that would be expected with 60mph wind gusts.

This has led to scattered power outages. As of 9am, just under 50,000 remain without power. This is down from around 64,000 earlier this morning. Restoration will likely be slow as winds continue to whip throughout Thursday. Outage numbers will likely continue to fluctuate throughout the day.

Conditions will remain cold and windy on Thursday. Afternoon high temperatures won't recover all that much from morning lows. Highs will generally be in the 20s and 30s, with teens at higher elevations and near the Canadian border. Wind chills will remain in the single digits north to teens and low 20s south.

Winds will slowly die down beginning Thursday evening for much of New England. As we've alluded to this week, this cold shot will be a one and done deal with temperatures rising right back up as high pressure shifts offshore on Friday. This will result in a return to a southerly flow and warming temperatures. After a cold morning, temps will rise quickly into the 40s for most. With 30s at the higher elevations. Eastern Maine will remain on the colder side Friday.

Heading into the weekend and into next week, a trough-in-the-west-ridge-in-the-east pattern looks to develop. This will allow temperatures to continue to rise with a lot of 40s and 50s from Saturday onward. Cloudy and generally unsettled weather may stunt warmth from reaching its full potential, however.

500mb height anomaly on Sunday showing the definition of trough-in-the-west-ridge-in-the-east. This general pattern holds through about mid week next week:

It is looking like conditions will become unsettled starting this weekend as a weak coastal system passes to New England's south. This will cycle in clouds and some showers likely starting Saturday afternoon. Rainfall looks to be on the light side, with scattered showers likely. Showers will generally be more numerous the further south in New England you go.

GFS showing the system passing to the south of New England:

The system will slow to a crawl, or stall completely, offshore of New England. This will keep the clouds and showers around for Sunday. Neither Saturday nor Sunday will be anywhere close to a washout. As per usual with cutoff lows, there is a spread in guidance on when the system will pull away. Some guidance has it clearing out heading into early next week while others keep it around.

These setups are usually stubborn to break down, so we're thinking it will be on the cloudier (and maybe showery or drizzly) side heading into next week. We'll need to watch to see how quickly the weekend system can break down for temperatures. A faster breakdown would mean more mild afternoons and more sun.

Weather map for Monday morning showing the low pressure hanging around:

Western New England will stand the best chance at being dry and seeing some sun during this time frame. This would also allow western areas to be warmer amid potentially more sun (and away from the coastal influence). Overall, this is a very spring-like pattern with a stalled system cycling showers and clouds into eastern New England with western areas clearing out faster.

A weak cold front and system may approach around midweek, renewing shower chances for the region.



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