The longest cold stretch of weather in years continues through this week. It was a frigid New Year’s Day, and the coldest weather of this stretch is yet to come. I’m also closely watching the potential for wind/snow Thursday into Thursday night. You can expect quiet weather with less frigid conditions on Tuesday and Wednesday. It will, however, still be rather cold for early January.
There is little doubt that an intense storm will form in the Atlantic Ocean Wednesday into Thursday. The exact track of the large and intense storm is questionable, and that leaves Southeastern New England in an uncertain forecast zone. There is a better than 50/50 chance of at least a plowable snow, and the wind may gust over 40 mph in most of RI and all of SE MA. If the storm comes closer, blizzard conditions are possible, especially in eastern Massachusetts. If it tracks farther east, it will be a glancing blow with gusty wind, but not much snow.
At this point, I think it’s best to plan for a disruptive storm on Thursday. While it may not be a blockbuster, the combined snow/wind will lead to hazardous travel. Here’s my current snow odds for RI and SE MA:
Less than 2″ – 20%
2-5″ – 30%
5-10″ – 40%
10″+ – 10%
Of course, there’s a big impact difference between 5 and 10 inches of snow, and I will continue fine-tuning the forecast in the next couple of days. One other note…there could be a big fluff-factor with the snow, so the amount of water that would normally produce 3″ of snow could give us 5-6″ of snow. Strong winds would lead to lots of blowing/drifting, especially in E MA.
Regardless of whether the storm hits, the coldest weather of this frigid stretch is likely Friday into the weekend. Record lows are possible Saturday and Sunday in Southern New England. The high temperature (Saturday) may not reach 10° in Providence for the first time since 1994. We are likely heading for a 13 day stretch of sub-freezing weather in Providence. That would be the longest such stretch since 2004. There is a pretty good chance the temperature will get above freezing next Monday…which seems a long time from now!