Arctic air topples temperature records in NYC

Well, we can officially declare that this arctic airmass was not “hype”. In fact, it was very much the exact opposite. Low temperature records for the day were broken on Wednesday morning in and around New York City. LaGuardia (22 F) and Kennedy Airports (23 F) set new record low temperatures, as did Bridgeport (23 F) and Islip (22 F). Temperatures in the upper teens were common throughout the area. Making matters worse, west-northwest winds kept wind chill values from the single digits into the lower teens especially inland.

The cold wasn’t localized to our local area, either. As we discussed in a post yesterday, Tuesday was the coldest November morning across the average of the entire United States since 1976. The average temperature at 12z was only 19.4 F in the United States, breaking the 19.9 F record from November 30th, 1976. A whopping 85% of the United States was below freezing at that time on Tuesday morning, and more than 58% was below 20 F. Additional records may be broken on Wednesday afternoon, where the lowest high temperature records around the area airports sit near 35 F.

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NWS forecasting 5-6 feet of lake effect snow in New York

As an arctic airmass shifts throughout the United States, the Lake Effect snow “machine” will be turned on for the first time this season. And it’s coming in with a bang. The combination of extremely cold air aloft, the surge of cold air advection, and warmer air/moisture along the Great Lakes is leading to the potential for epic amounts of snow. Extremely heavy bands of snow sat south of Buffalo and near Watertown, New York this morning producing snowfall rates of 3-5″ per hour . The bands were visualized on regional radar, barely moving but fluctuating somewhat from north to south.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service is forecasting bands to persist over the next day. Instability within the bands of heavy snow is allowing for lightning and thundersnow — a rare phenomena which actually does occur in New York City from time to time as well. But the National Weather Service in Buffalo has much bigger problems to deal with — some areas have already seen 36″ of snow accumulate from the band of heavy snow, and it isn’t expected to move a great distance until later tonight when a mid level trough swings through and changes the flow orientation. By that point, the potential exists for some areas to receive up to 70 inches of snow. That’s right — seventy inches.

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Record breaking cold makes its presence felt

This was the coldest morning in the United States since 1976. How’s that for a statistic to start your day. The average temperature in the United States fell to 19.4 F at 12z this morning, beating the 19.9 F average reading from 1976. That average temperature is simply a statistical testament to the breadth and intensity of the cold air which has surged into the United States this week behind a powerful storm system and associated cold front. Temperatures were in the single digits this morning throughout much of the Central United States, and in the teens all the way through the Ohio Valley and Northeast. A remarkable 85.3% of the United States was below freezing, and 58.2% below 20 F.

In our local area, the cold surged through Monday Night into Tuesday morning and made its presence felt immediately. Temperatures fell easily below 30 F in New York City’s Central Park. This was the first time this season that the park fell below freezing. Wind Chill values were in the teens and single digits with blustery west-northwest winds blowing from 10 to 20 miles per hour. Today will be a winter-like day in the truest sense. High temperatures will struggle past the freezing mark (although the actual “daily” high temperature will be 45 F which was registered at midnight in NYC). Wind chill values will remain in the 20’s. And the westerly winds will continue surging cold air into the area tonight, when temperatures will fall even further.

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Coldest air of the season arrives Monday Night

With news of an impending rain storm and warmup on Monday, hope may be rising for increasingly pleasant weather during the next week. That hope will come crashing down as quickly as Monday Night, along with temperatures throughout the forecast area. An arctic blast, straight out of Canada, will rush into the area on Tuesday behind Monday’s storm system, bringing the coldest air of the season into the area.

Forecast models have been consistent in hinting at this potential for 7 days or more, but are just now beginning to focus in on the intensity of the cold air. Anomalous and impressive, the cold air will surge in from Central Canada. First into the Ohio Valley, and then into the Northeast — straight to the coast

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Current water vapor imagery shows plenty of moisture to our southwest, streaming towards our area. Meanwhile, high clouds are increasing out ahead of the storm (weather.cod.edu).

Rain on Monday, Arctic Blast on Tuesday and Wednesday

We hope you’ve been enjoying your weekend so far! After a very chilly start, the airmass has warmed a bit today, as winds have shifted to the southwest ahead of a developing storm and cold front. However, thickening clouds may largely prevent us from warming at the surface much more than yesterday. If clouds were to break, high temperatures could approach 50 degrees; otherwise it’s likely that we stay in the mid 40s.

Meanwhile, a strong storm system continues to develop, amplifying heights out ahead of it. This leads to strong mid-level warm air advection, and will continue to moisten the atmosphere. This warm air advection may lead to some showers developing well ahead of the low by around 11:00pm, and it may come down moderately at times in the pre-dawn hours. This will also lead to temperatures holding steady in the mid 40s.

Although there has been a warming trend with this storm, SW winds take a longer time to warm up the hills of NW NJ, and interior SE NY. This leads to the possibility of a bit of snow and ice on the onset for western Passaic and Sussex Counties in NJ, Northern Fairfield County in CT, and Orange and Putnam Counties in NY. Winter weather advisories have been issued for those areas, where up to an inch of snow is possible, and less than a tenth of an inch of ice. The timing would be from around 11:00pm through 7:00am. It may be wise to leave a bit of extra time for an early-morning commute. After 7:00am, enough warm air will be around to raise temperatures in these areas above freezing.

Some data is hinting that there may be a bit of a break in the action for a few hours from about 6:00am through 9:00am or so, where rain becomes much more scattered. This is because we’ll be in between the initial lift from the overrunning, and the core of the heavier rain from the warm conveyor belt of the storm.

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