Friday, January 2, 2015

UGLY Winter Weather Coming. Especially in Northern New England

With bitter subzero Arctic air forecast to flow
across still unfrozen Lake Champlain in Vermont
next week, steamy scenes like this are likely.  
Some of the worst of winter's weather is going to blast parts of the country, or continue to blast it, depending upon where you are.

Welcome to January, 2015!

A messy storm system is causing or will cause big problems in Texas and Oklahoma and will create some ugly weather in New England, too.

Winter storm warnings and ice storm warnings are up now for parts of Texas and Oklahoma as the latest storm system gets in gear.

This is the same storm that dumped some rare snow on low elevations in the deserts of southern California, Arizona and Nevada.

In parts of north Texas and Oklahoma, the ice will make roads nearly impassable today, and there's the risk of falling trees, branches and power lines as the ice will accumulate to between a quarter and a half inch thick.

The storm will make its way quickly northeastward, dropping a stripe of snow and ice on its western flank and rain to the east.

Along the Gulf Coast, there is the risk of some severe thunderstorms and maybe a tornado or two Saturday as the storm's cold front cuts into some warm, humid air that will be in place there.

This storm also has a special gift for New England.

A cold front is making its way through New England this morning. Some arctic air will establish itself there by later tonight, as temperatures in parts of northern New England will fall to near or below zero tonight, then struggle to rise into the upper teens and low 20s Saturday.

With the storm heading to the west of New England, a burst of very wet and warm air on the storm's eastern flank will be forced to glide up and over the cold air Saturday night.

That will spawn a burst of pretty heavy snow for awhile Saturday night, amounting to 3 to 6 inches in many spots in northern New England. Then, later Saturday night the precipitation will change to freezing rain across much of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and maybe northern Massachusetts.

There have already been two massive power failures in New England this winter due to bad winter storms, but I don't think this one will cause such widespread utility problems.

There will be a few ice-laden branches and power lines coming down amid gusty wind Sunday morning, but it won't be nearly as bad as the Thanksgiving storm in New Hampshire or the wet, soggy snowstorm in Vermont during mid-December. 

Still,  that's a real mess coming for the weekend, especially for anyone planning to drive around New England over the weekend.

Winter storm watches are up for parts of New York's Adirondacks, the eastern half of Vermont, most of New Hampshire, much of Maine and a piece of northern Massachusetts Saturday night and Sunday morning.

New England will briefly get into the warm air Sunday afternoon, with temperatures in the 40s across Vermont and all but northern New Hampshire and Maine and in the 50s in southern New England.

But harsh winter weather won't be done with New England, not by a long shot. The storm's cold front will crash across the Northeast Sunday night, basically causing a flash freeze.

The water that will be on the roads Sunday afternoon will freeze and the commute into work Monday morning could be lousy in many areas.

Temperatures will struggle to get out of the teens and low 20s in northern New England Monday an Tuesday, with lows near 0.

But WAIT! There's MORE!!! Another reinforcing blast of arctic air will smash into New England Tuesday night. This might turn out to be the worst cold wave of the winter.

I'm guess some parts of northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine won't get above zero Thursday afternoon, during the core of the cold blast. Overnight lows there could get into the teens and 20s below, maybe 30s below in northern Maine.

Central Quebec, which will get the full brunt of the cold, will probably go into the minus 40s. Ugh.

The Great Lakes and Ohio Valley will share in the joy of this bitter cold, but it won't be quite as bad there as it will be in New England.

Usually, but not always, these sharp northern New England cold waves only last two or three days. In this case, fortunately, it looks like we'll have our usual pattern and temperatures will rise to near normal levels by next Sunday and Monday.

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