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Boston weather, metro north and west: Rain to snow then an arctic blast

Weather timeline.
Weather timeline.

Spring was certainly in the air Tuesday as temperatures climbed well into the 50s to 60 degrees during the afternoon. Now, we prepare for a couple of stormy days, one with milder temperatures and rain the other bringing back a bit of snow with a bitter arctic blast.

A strengthening storm will bring rain, wind, cold and then snow to the Boston area Wednesday through Thursday.

The low pressure system that has been talked about since late last week is going to develop into a nor’easter for our area. The low will move through the Ohio Valley on Wednesday and then track across the southern New England coast Wednesday night and into the Gulf of Maine Thursday morning. Initially there is too much mild air ahead of the system which means generally a rain event Wednesday afternoon and evening for our area, although a wintry mix and snow is expected well to the west and north of us. As the storm moves near the Cape Cod Canal and then out over the open waters to the east of Boston Wednesday night it will begin to drag much colder air in behind it overnight. This will change the rain to snow very quickly as temperatures are going to plummet once the low moves to our east. A flash freeze is of concern since there will be standing water left over from the earlier rains and this may cause some travel problems early on Thursday as it is expected to be snowing into Thursday. It is possible some light accumulations may occur Thursday morning before the precipitation ends, with the greatest chance being through the interior and the hilly terrain.

What follows behind the storm is a bitter cold blast of arctic air that will be more reminiscent of January or February. Temperatures on Thursday are not anticipated to budge through the day, meaning they remain in the low to mid 20s. That is a ridiculous 20 to 25 degrees below seasonal average. Gusty winds through the day keeps the wind chills in the single digits to near zero. I mentioned in my last update that it will be so cold Thursday night into Friday morning that we may challenge the record low in Boston for March 14th of 12 degrees set in 1896. Wind chills well below zero as winds are expected to punish us with gusts upwards of 40 to 50 mph Thursday night. Those are brutal conditions anytime of the Winter but especially so since it is now approaching mid March.

Friday starts off bitterly cold but temperatures recover nicely for the afternoon. However, it will remain some 10 or 12 degrees below seasonal average. With a ridge of high pressure in the area we can look for sunshine to return.

Saturday will be a day of partly to mostly cloudy skies as low pressure tracks across southern Quebec. This will drag milder air into the area as temperatures jump right back into the 40s. There is a chance of a passing rain shower.

Cooler on Sunday with fair skies and a breezy day.

72 Hour Outlook:

Wednesday: Rain develops during the afternoon. Not as mild. High temperatures from near 40 well inland to mid 40s across the coastal plain. East winds 5 to 15 mph.

Wednesday night: Rain early will transition to snow from northwest to southeast around or after midnight. Sleet may mix in as well at times. Temperatures will quickly fall into the 20s after midnight. Northeast to north winds gusting to near 30 mph.

Thursday: Snow early, remaining mostly cloudy with afternoon snow showers possible. Windy and very cold. Temperatures remaining near steady in the low to mid 20s. Northwest winds may gust up to 40 mph.

Thursday night: Bitterly cold and very windy. Becoming partly cloudy. Wind chills below zero. Low temperatures in the low to mid teens. Northwest winds could gust to 50 mph.

Friday: Very cold to start with temperatures moderating to the low 30s. Partly sunny skies and breezy.

Friday night: Increasing clouds and milder. Lows in the upper 20s.

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