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Providence weather: Windy but dry for Friday

The weather map for Southern New England at 2 p.m. EDT on March 21, 2014. Mostly sunny skies are expected.
The weather map for Southern New England at 2 p.m. EDT on March 21, 2014. Mostly sunny skies are expected.

Forecast discussion: After the showers ended and the sun was out by the middle of Thursday morning, spring arrived at 12:57 p.m. A weak cold front brought some extra clouds for a few hours, but we ended the day with a mix of sun and clouds. We will have a weak disturbance pass through Providence on Saturday, but we will return to winter by Monday. Also, the chance of a Nor’Easter by the middle of next week is beginning to appear in many more computer models.

High temperature forecast for March 21, 2014

However, let’s get back to this weekend. Friday will be dry, but windy, as high pressure ridging meets with the low pressure center still moving into Nova Scotia. This will create stronger winds during the afternoon. Also, we will begin to see more clouds as we head into the evening commute. It appears that we will remain cloudy but dry Friday night. By early Saturday morning, a low over eastern Montana will bring some snow showers, before we see a mix of rain and snow around dawn. It will be warm enough to change it to all rain by the middle of the morning. The low’s center is moving quickly, so all precipitation will end by mid-afternoon. We should see some partial sunshine before sunset. We will see limited sunshine for Sunday, but it will remain dry.

By Sunday evening, the cold front associated with the low will push through, and it will pull some cold Arctic air back over New England. It will feel more like January on Monday, as high temperatures struggle to stay above freezing. Low temperatures Monday night will fall into the upper teens to lower 20’s. As we move into Tuesday, it will remain dry, but we will see increasing clouds into Tuesday night. This is where the spring weather will look more like mid-February.

As of last night, I had mentioned only the European model was showing a true Nor’Easter over Cape Cod by late Tuesday night. After examining the new models, the European model has not changed its mind. But, what has me concerned is the other models are starting to see the same scenario. The American model still keeps the low furthest east of all the models. So, we will see strong, gusty winds Tuesday night, but only light snow. The snowfall will persist into Wednesday night. The third model of choice, the United Kingdom model, is also showing a strong low moving up off the New England coast. Finally, I decided to glance at the Canadian model. Although the low is not as close to the New England coast, it too forms a strong Nor’Easter.

Now, this scenario is still about 5 days away, and the models have been known to over-forecast low pressure systems. They are still in a transition period from winter to spring like systems. So, my confidence for the forecast after Tuesday afternoon is still low. But I must admit that the models all seeing this same scenario within five days does have me a little concerned.

72 hour forecast:

Tonight: Partly cloudy with a low of 32.
Friday: Mostly sunny through the early afternoon and windy with increasing clouds into sunset. We will have a high of 47 with west-northwest winds of 15-20 mph.
Friday night: Mostly cloudy with a low of 31. Winds will come from the west-northwest and diminish to 4-7 mph.
Saturday: A few snow showers by 2 a.m. but changing to rain by 9 a.m. Showers should end around 3 p.m. with partly sunny skies. We will have a high of 52.
Saturday night: Partly to mostly cloudy with a low of 29.
Sunday: Partly sunny with a high of 45.
Sunday night: Partly cloudy and cold with a low of 21.

Extended Forecast:
Monday: Mostly sunny and quite cold. Highs 31-34, lows 18-21.
Tuesday: Partly sunny with light snow by the evening commute. Highs 35-38, lows 25-28.
Wednesday: Cloudy and windy with light snow. Snow ends by 8 p.m. Highs 37-40, lows 23-26.
Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny. Highs 39-42, lows 28-31.

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