Arctic Blast to Start off 2012
It’s already early January and many of you are probably thinking…where is all the snow? Well, all the snow lovers out there will need to remain patient. It appears that Connecticut will remain dry and cold for the next several days, with close to no chance of precipitation. Some of the coldest air of the winter is about to pour into our region Tuesday night, and temperatures will likely drop into the single digit range for most of the state. It has been a roller coaster ride of temperatures so far this winter. Yesterday’s high temperature in Bridgeport was 48. It reached 51 on Sunday. The normal temperature range for this time of the year is in the low 40’s, but it will struggle to clear 30 today. Why is going to get so cold out there, and is there any chance of a warm-up anytime soon? I’ll have it covered for you.
A cold front latent with arctic air from Canada passed through Connecticut early this morning bringing in a shot of chilly temperatures. A ridge of high pressure is building over the upper Midwest and Great Lakes region, resulting in a strong northwesterly flow. Winds typically move clockwise and outward from high pressure systems, and will increase from the northwest with the frontal passage. They will remain a bit brisk, with potential gusts up to 25-30 mph. This will make it feel much colder than it already is due to the wind chill factor. This northwesterly flow will bring substantial cold air advection, or CAA as meteorologists call it. This means that colder air will be spread across an area of warmer air, resulting in the Arctic blast that we will be experiencing. Fortunately we won’t see some of the coldest of temperatures like northern New England – portions of Northern New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine could see lows around -10 or -15 tonight!
It’s not just the northeast that is getting hit with the chilly weather. Canadian air will be sinking as far as South Florida, where Miami and the Everglades are under a Freeze warning until Wednesday morning. Temperatures could fall into the upper 20’s and low 30’s, even that far south. North Florida and South Georgia have been issued Hard Freeze Warnings for temperatures in the low 20’s tonight.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you see a few stray flurries falling statewide throughout the day today. It won’t amount to anything, but these are actually the remnants of Lake Effect snow that has been affecting western and northern New York and Pennsylvania. Some towns out there have picked up over a foot of snow. However, we have nothing to worry about in CT. Our air mass will dry out by tonight, ending the chance of flurries.
The ridge will be building over the eastern Great Lakes by late in the day on Tuesday into early Wednesday morning, which will result in high pressure. The high will move eastward keeping our region dry, with mostly clear skies overnight. The combination of northwest winds and lack of clouds will allow temperatures to drop off into the teens at the shoreline, but single digits further inland. High pressure will build over the state Wednesday, and lower levels of the atmosphere will moisten, bringing in some clouds and a slight chance of flurries.
Weak ridging by Thursday will keep us dry once again, but a weak cold front could approach by Thursday evening into Friday, bringing the chance for a few more clouds. Another weak ridge will build by the weekend, however the upper level flow is expected to shift from the northwest to west-southwest. This will bring our temperatures back into the seasonable range for the weekend, with temperatures rising back into the mid 40’s.
The weather models have picked up the possibility of a disturbance forming off the Mid-Atlantic coast by later in the weekend, but there is a lot of uncertainty over its track. The models don’t show much agreement – one model keeps the storm further off at sea while the other brushes the New England coast. It is still too far off to be certain on its movement, but for the meantime we are in a quiet weather pattern. Just be sure to bundle up before you head out the door.