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Boston weather: Bitter cold retreats quickly Friday, mixed reviews for weekend

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Metro Boston, North Shore and Metro West: Early in the week we spoke about the changeable weather conditions that would confront us this week and Mother Nature did not let us down. It was a roller coaster week of weather. We had a touch of snow early Monday then the next day it reached 60 degrees in Boston, rain to snow to windy conditions mid week and then the near record to record cold temperatures last night and early this morning. Here we are in the middle of March and temperatures this morning are mostly in the single digits and low teens across the area. The record low temperature for Boston on this date is 12 degrees set in 1896. That is not in jeopardy. After the frigid start to the day temperatures are going to rebound quickly as Friday promises to be a big improvement from the bitter cold and gusty winds of Thursday and Thursday night. The highs on Saturday likely more than double up on Thursday readings.

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A ridge of high pressure across the East Coast will slide offshore by tonight and into Saturday. Meanwhile, low pressure in the Great Lakes pushes into the St. Lawrence River Valley Saturday morning. A brisk southwesterly flow will develop during Friday into Saturday and this means milder temperatures into Saturday as well. A cold front swings through later on Saturday as the low moves northeastward. Expect periods of mostly cloudy skies Friday night and Saturday with a chance of a shower, although there will be periods of sunshine as well on Saturday with the mercury approaching 50 degrees in the afternoon.

Unfortunately, on Sunday we return to cold, blustery conditions on the backside of the departing cold front. It will not be as bitterly cold as Thursday was but still some 15 degrees or so below normal as the mercury does not recover much from the morning lows.

As the cold front sags southward on Sunday a low pressure system will emerge out of the northern Gulf of Mexico and track to a position off the North Carolina coast by Monday morning. A strong high pressure system will be pushing southeast out of Canada as well and the issue becomes if the high can force the low harmlessly out to sea Monday. Or, does the high ripple a bit further north and in turn allow the low to push closer to southern New England and perhaps impact the area Monday. The thinking now is the high wins this battle and we stay dry and cold to start the new work week.

72 Hour Outlook:

Friday: Bitter cold start but a milder afternoon. Partly cloudy skies to mostly cloudy at times in the afternoon with high temperatures in the 30s. Winds become southwest at 10 to 20 mph.

Friday night: Mostly cloudy. Chance of a rain shower, possibly a snow shower well inland. Much milder as temperatures remain fairly steady. Lows generally in the low to mid 30s. Gusty southwest winds.

Saturday: Variable cloudiness and mild. Chance of a passing shower. Mild, highs near 50 degrees. Southwest winds up to 20 mph.

Saturday night: Becoming partly cloudy, breezy and colder. Lows in the 20s.

Sunday: Colder and blustery. Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 30s.

Sunday night: Increasing clouds. Even colder with lows in the teens inland to near 20 along the coast.

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