Winter Returns… Perhaps With A Vengeance

The temp trend is down over the next couple of days, and by tomorrow afternoon, we’re near record territory for the coldest high temperatures recorded for March 24th.  To get there, we’ll ease into the cold today as highs near 40 by early afternoon, then slide into the 30s mid to late afternoon.  Tonight, the core of the cold starts to settle in, allowing temperatures to drop into the single digits and teens with wind chill factors near 0!

So what are the records for coldest highs on March 24th?  In Boston, it’s 26, set back in 1888, and in Worcester, it’s 24 in 1940.  We’ll be close to those numbers tomorrow afternoon despite some sunshine.

Ok, how about the mid-week storm?  Tuesday night into Wednesday morning would be the time frame to watch here as a rapidly strengthening ocean storm passes east of us.  There’s no question that this becomes a powerful storm, the question is how close does it track to us and what are the impacts? 

Essentially what we’re watching now is for energy currently over the Northwest Territories, to move through Canada, and drop down through the United States.  As it does, it’ll grab energy/storm from the southern branch of the jet stream, pull it from the Gulf of Mexico and jump it off the Carolina coastline, and rapidly strengthen it as it moves off the Carolina coastline, toward Nova Scotia.  Sound complicated?  It is, and when you’re talking about the merging of energy from the Northwest Territories and from the Gulf of Mexico, it only takes minor timing differences to adjust the track of the storm that consequently determines the fate of the impacts for us. There’s no blocking in place in the atmosphere, which means there’s no mechanism to drive the storm closer to the coastline.  Without that block, the timing and position of the phasing two pieces of energy would have to be perfect in order to deliver and all out snowstorm for the entire region.

As it stands this morning, the most likely locations to receive an all out snowstorm… heavy snow, and wind gusts 50-60mph are over the Cape and Islands. The farther northwest one travels, the less snow and wind one gets, although, I’d still expected some accumulating snow for many of us.  The reasoning behind most of us avoiding the core of the storm, is the fact that the most likely track of the low is just outside the “benchmark” since the timing and positioning of the energy may not be perfect.  I won’t discount a farther west track of this storm that would bring high winds and the heaviest snows more inland, but at this point, I think it’s a lower probability. 

Will this be winter’s last stand?  It could be as the pattern appears to break with temps warming into the 50s to 60 by Friday, and even after next weekend, the pattern looking warmer than average. 

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, and we’ll iron out more late Tuesday-Wednesday AM details as forecast confidence grows.

@clamberton7 – twitter