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Weak System Incoming; Followed by Brief Cold Snap | Weather Wednesday

This week's Weather Wednesday episode focuses on a weak system that will bring light rain and snow to New England. This will be followed by a very brief cold snap before warmer conditions return next week. We also go over the 55th anniversary of the "100 Hour Storm."

Prefer to read? There's a written version below the video. You can also read about the 100 Hour Storm here.

New England's next storm will be coming Thursday night into Friday, but this will be a weak, low-impact system for New England. A low will be moving up the east coast, and with an inland path, it will support a southerly flow and continued mild temperatures. This will support mainly rain showers for much of New England.

A weak surface low may form near Long Island, which would normally help keep New England colder, resulting in more widespread frozen precipitation, but the southerly flow does look like it will persist, resulting in a rain event for southern and central New England as this secondary low is looking to track inside the 40/70 benchmark. This low will help keep snow showers around for areas further north.

The system will likely begin as snow showers for most of New England Thursday night, but a changeover to rain is expected from south to north. There is some uncertainty with how quickly the changeover happens and how far north the changeover gets. There remains a spread in guidance in this regard with some models much slower to push the rain/snow line further north than others.

Despite this, it will be a generally light precipitation event. By Friday morning, the rain/snow line will likely have pushed out of southern New England with rain showers across southern areas. The rain/snow line will continue working north. Again, exactly how far it manages to push remains a bit of a question mark, but I would say there’s a pretty good bet it will make it to Lake Winnipesaukee by Friday afternoon, with snow showers continuing into the White Mountains and Maine away from coastal areas.

Areas that do see snow for a longer period of time will not see all that much. With light to at times steady precipitation, total snowfall is looking to stay under 3 inches at this time. As a matter of fact, Weather Prediction Center probabilities of at least two inches of snow tops out at 60% for eastern Maine with much of northern New Hampshire and Maine topping out at 50%.

Probability of at least 2 inches of snow by Saturday morning:

Precipitation will last through much of Friday before winding down from west to east by the evening. Rain and snow showers may be scattered in nature for much of the event, with times of steady rain and snow and other times just drizzling or flurries from Thursday night through Friday.

Precipitation will hold on longer across eastern Maine, where it may come down for much of Friday night as the low deepens near Nova Scotia. Eastern Maine will likely see their most snow from this system from wrap around showers Friday evening into the night. Again, the most snow will still likely not be all that much, with a few inches possible by Saturday morning.

After the storm passes, the typical post-storm cold air intrusion will drop into New England amid an abrupt shift to a northerly flow. A flash freeze isn’t out of the question, especially for portions of Vermont. A strong cold front will be dragged across New England Saturday morning, resulting in one cold day.

Highs on Saturday likely won’t be rising much at all from morning lows. Highs will remain in the teens and 20s for New England with wind chills in the single digits north to teens south as winds remain gusty behind the front. This will be a one day cool down with temperatures moderating by Sunday afternoon.

Sunday morning lows will likely be the peak of this brief cold snap. Winds on Sunday should begin to relax. The end of February is looking increasingly likely to be a warm one. This will come as surface flow is looking to be dominated by southerly and/or westerly winds. Also, NAO is expected to hang onto a positive phase while PNA dives negative.

This could support ridging in the east and troughing in the west. Of course, looking to next week in the middle of this week, nothing can truly be locked in, but odds certainly favor a mild end to meteorological winter. Just how mild it can get, we’ll have to wait and see.



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