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Boston weather: Conditions improve Thursday after a cold and windy start

Conditions quiet down later Thursday as milder air begins to advance north by Thursday night.
Conditions quiet down later Thursday as milder air begins to advance north by Thursday night.

Metro Boston, North Shore and Metro West: There is no doubt the metro Boston area dodged what could have been one of the most significant Winter storms in these parts for many years on Wednesday. As expected the giant and powerful ocean storm moved too far offshore sparing us the worst of the impacts. A track closer to the coast by say 150 to 200 miles and we would have been dealing with blizzard conditions, snowfall over a foot, significant drifting and blowing snow along with wind gusts to 70 mph or higher. Then there would have been the coastal flooding and significant beach erosion along with numerous power outages from the heavy snow and high winds that no doubt would have knocked out power for many. Another day of school closures, nightmare commutes and a disruptive day was spared as well.

Most of the above was experienced by those living along Cape Cod and the Islands where 6+ inches of snow fell, winds gusted to 83 mph out on Nantucket Island with frequent gusts over 60 mph across Cape Cod, numerous power outages and some coastal flooding being reported.

Even though we were on the fringe of the storm the local area still had a day of winds gusting over 40 mph for many areas, especially along the coast. Rockport reported a wind gust of 52 mph. As for snow it was kept to just flurries at times with not even a coating in the area. Essentially the area remained dry.

As the storm pulls away into Atlantic Canada, where they are taking a beating from this storm, we remain within the outer portion of the strong wind field early Thursday keeping the area blustery through part of the day. Early sun will give way to partly cloudy afternoon skies as winds gust over 35 mph through the morning, subsiding during the afternoon. High pressure will build across the mid-Atlantic region and this will help to calm things down locally, turn the winds more southwesterly bringing a milder day on Friday.

Meanwhile, our next weather maker pulls out of the Great Lakes Friday tracking across southern Quebec Friday night and Saturday. This system will bring a brief surge of milder air ahead of the attendant cold front, which is likely to cross the region by midday Saturday. Ahead and along the frontal boundary we can expect scattered showers breaking out during Friday, possibly lasting into early Saturday. The front will sag to our south and stall as another disturbance ripples along the front for the second half of our weekend. With that set up it appears the wet weather returns by Sunday along with cooler temperatures behind the departed cold front. It is not out of the question that a wintry mix could develop across the interior.

Three Day Outlook:

Thursday: A cold and windy start. Sunshine early gives way to some afternoon clouds. High temperatures rebound into the low 40s. West to northwest winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts to around 35 mph in the morning, diminishing through the afternoon.

Thursday night: Not so cool with partly to mostly cloudy skies. Lows in the low 30s. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph.

Friday: Mostly cloudy, chance of developing showers. Milder, highs in the low 50s. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph.

Friday night: Chance of showers. Mild, lows in the low to mid 40s.

Saturday: Chance of showers very early, otherwise remaining mostly cloudy with pockets of sunshine possible in the afternoon. Seasonably mild with highs in the upper 40s.

Saturday night: Numerous showers developing and turning cooler. Lows in the mid to upper 30s.

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