Friday, December 16, 2016

Cold Blast Underway Ugly Mess This Weekend

Snow blowing across a road in St. Albans, Vermont
Thursday made for slow going at times. Things
got worse, and much colder, later in the day. 
As expected, you're going to freeze your tush off this morning.

It's below zero pretty much everywhere in northern New England and New York, and winds are still pretty biting out there. Wind chills at dawn are in the minus teens in many areas.

Take extra time to start your car and drive to work. Roads aren't great, because there's some snow an ice on them, and it's too cold for salt to work.

While you're grumbling about this, at least be thankful you're not atop Mount Washington, New Hampshire.

As of 4 a.m. it was 33 below zero with a northwest wind gusting to 85 mph for a wind chill of 84 below.


The core of the cold air was passing just to the north of New England. You could see it in reports from southeastern Quebec. At 4 a.m. Sherbrooke was at minus 13 with a wind chill of 38 below.

Next up for us in the Northeast: Out of the freezer and into the wintry mix.

The next storm is going to produce a dramatic, if brief warm up around here in New England, but we'll pay the price with a messy mix of winter weather.

Actually, most of the nation is joining in on this icy, snowy fun.

Like the cross country storm last week, this one is causing, or will cause, unpleasant winter weather from coast to coast.

Only this storm is stronger than last week's, so the weather in many cases will be worse. And the trouble areas are even bigger than in the mid-sized storm last week.

Winter storm warnings, watches and advisories stretch through a remarkably huge area of the United States, from Oregon to Maine and from New Mexico to Michigan

By my count, parts or all of 35 states were under some sort of winter advisory or warning as of early Friday morning.

What fun!

Up here for us northern New Englanders, snow will break out after midnight tonight and continue well into Saturday. Expect poor travel conditions as another three to five inches of snow blankest Vermont and surrounding areas.

There might be a lull in the precipitation Saturday afternoon and early evening, before a wave of mixed precipitation moves in.

In the Champlain Valley and lowlands of southern Vermont and central and southwestern New Englan and coastal areas, it will be mostly rain. In New York's St. Lawrence Valley, areas east of the Green Mountains in Vermont and in much of New Hampshire and Maine, it will be freezing rain.

That's not good!

As you can imagine, the entire Northeast is under a winter weather advisory this weekend.

And before you get too smug in the areas that go to plain rain, you're still screwed. We had all that Arctic air, so rain falling on pavement that had gotten chilled by this Arctic cold blast will freeze, even if the air temperature is above 32 degrees.

Expect more travel headaches Saturday night and Sunday morning, that's for sure.

It'll be mild part of the day Sunday before a cold front swings in during the afternoon. Guess what! A flash freeze!

All that half melted snow from the mild weather and rain part of Sunday will instantly turn to hard ice as temperatures plunge to near zero Sunday night. Roads will again turn into icy nightmares for our Monday commute.

Just when you thought this very inconvenient winter weather will never end, it will, for a time.

After that next Arctic blast this weekend and early next week, warmer and less stormy weather should temporarily envelop most of the nation for the majority of next week.

Here in Vermont and the rest of New England, look for temperatures to start trending to above normal for Wednesday or Thursday, with little precipitation in the forecast by that time.

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