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Providence weather: Above freezing temperatures, despite cloud cover

The weather map for Southern New England at 1 p.m. EST on January 31, 2014. Cloudy skies are expected.
The weather map for Southern New England at 1 p.m. EST on January 31, 2014. Cloudy skies are expected.

Forecast discussion: Like Wednesday, Rhode Island had bright sunshine coming down on us on Thursday. However, you probably noticed that the temperature outside was a little different. Thanks to a high pressure ridge, it felt a little warmer than the last few days. Well, one factor that is changing than the last few days is the wind. More importantly, it is the direction of where the wind is coming from now.

High temperature forecast for January 31, 2014

Over the next few hours, the wind direction will be changing to the west-southwest. T.F. Green Airport noticed this difference in Warwick. The high temperature from the National Weather Service on Thursday was 28 degrees. We haven’t seen this temperature since Tuesday.

We will keep the warmer winds into Friday, as a low pressure system over the western Great Lakes will be controlling our weather pattern. We will see cloudy skies by early Friday morning. Thanks to the cloud cover, temperatures will remain warmer, as low they only fall into the middle 20’s. Despite a lack of sunshine on Friday, high temperatures will reach the upper 30’s.

As we head into Friday night, the cold front will pass through New England. At this time, I do not expect any precipitation, but it will remain cloudy. As we move into Saturday, a low pressure system over eastern New Mexico will slowly move east, and then move towards the Mid-Atlantic early Sunday morning. This low will bring some isolated showers early Sunday morning, with heavier precipitation in the afternoon. This system will move offshore by Sunday evening, allowing for some colder air to return for Monday.

High pressure will give us dry weather for Monday. However, I am watching a possible low pressure system that will bring some heavier precipitation Tuesday evening into Wednesday. Looking at the long range computer models, there is an agreement between them that the low will remain over the Mid-Atlantic. This would mean we would remain in the warmer sector. We would start off with snow showers Tuesday night, with the mixing or changeover to sleet or freezing rain. Once the warm front passes, the precipitation would change to just plain rain. The rain may be heaviest during the late morning and afternoon hours. At this time, my confidence in the models remains low, since we are still six days out. The models do agree that drier weather returns next Thursday, with Arctic air returning behind the cold front.

72 hour forecast:

Tonight: Mostly cloudy skies after midnight with a low of 20.
Friday: Cloudy skies and warmer with a high of 38. Winds will come from the west-southwest at 9-12 mph.
Friday night: Mostly cloudy skies with a low of 26. Winds will come from the west-northwest at 2-5 mph.
Saturday: Partly sunny skies with a high of 39.
Saturday night: Cloudy skies with isolated showers possible after 1 a.m. and a low of 33.
Sunday: Isolated showers in the morning become scattered in the afternoon. We will see a high of 46.
Sunday night: Showers end by 8 p.m. with clearing skies. It will be colder with the low falling to 26.

Extended Forecast:
Monday: Partly sunny. Highs 32-35, lows 20-23.
Tuesday: Partly sunny in the day, with overcast skies and light snow developing before midnight. Highs 34-37, lows 25-28.
Wednesday: Snow mixing or changing to sleet by 4 a.m., before becoming rain by mid-morning. Rain may be heavy at times. Highs 36-39, lows 21-24.
Thursday: Precipitation ends as snow showers and/or sleet before 2 a.m., with partly to mostly sunny skies expected. Highs 26-29, lows 13-16.

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