The big story heading into the end of this week is the brutal and possibly record cold that will be here for Valentine’s Day weekend. It certainly will be the coldest we’ve seen in an otherwise mild winter for the 2015/16 season. Signs point toward this cold blast being transient though, so much so that a storm system arriving early next week could end up being a wet one.
Upper Levels: The general pattern of troughing in the east continues into the weekend. Weak ridging tonight, gives way to an approaching shortwave trough Thursday. A core of the arctic air is drawn down beginning early saturday. Some ridging returns next week out ahead of an intensifying upper level trough that approaches the east.
Surface: Some weak low pressure to our south moves east northeastward out of the area tonight. Another area of low pressure develops on the east coast late Friday in conjunction with a transiting shortwave trough and takes an offshore track to our south and east early Saturday. Some flurries and snow squalls are possible on Thursday with the shortwave energy and once again on Saturday with the arctic cold front passage… no significant accumulations are expected. Brutally cold high pressure takes over for the weekend, but as it slides offshore early next week, a southwesterly flow will be introduced to the region between it and a surface low organizating in the southeast.
The Big Story: Brutal cold will be here for valentine’s day weekend. If we look at the 850 Temperature progs from the GFS for this weekend (between -20ºC and -30ºC!! at 00 UTC Sunday), it’s evident that the core of the cold will reach maximum severity for us late Saturday night into Sunday. Temperatures could be below zero Sunday morning all the way to the coast, this despite gusty surface winds expected. Wind chills could exceed -20ºF on near the coast and perhaps approach -30ºF in colder inland areas. The dangerous cold should be a top concern this weekend.
Comments: There is a decent amount of spread in the forecast track of an early week storm next Tuesday. The GFS brings the track further offshore and the EURO lies on the western end of the guidance suite, due to the fact it is farther west with the progression and evolution of the H5 trough, taking the surface low up the spine of the Appalachians. Regardless, the one common denominator in the guidance seems to be the lack of adequate high pressure to the north to keep the cold air in place. While plenty of uncertainty exists this far how, the possibility is there that this storm ends up as rain around here (CT), with perhaps some front end snow or mixed precipitation..