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.
But we know, especially in meteorology, that nothing lasts forever. So what’s the story now? The cold air will, in fact, meander around our area for a few more days. High temperatures on Wednesday will truly struggle to reach the lower 30’s as blustery west winds continue and the airmass remains anomalously cold. Bitter cold temperatures are anticipated once again on Wednesday Night, with low temperatures in the 20’s.
By Thursday, however, changeable weather ill begin to approach the area. A weak storm system developing to our north will push a southerly flow into the area (as many rejoice!) and help mid level temperatures to rise to more “normal” levels. Highs on Thursday will be a few degrees warmer, in the upper 30’s, and we may see a spotty snow shower around the area during some parts of the day.
After another day or two of moderately cold air, forecast models indicate an increasing likelihood of a piece of Pacific energy ejecting from the southwest United States into the Ohio Valley. What this means for us is an increased chance of a southerly flow, and rising temperatures. As this energy swings to our northwest and a low pressure system develops over the Great Lakes, increasing mid level and surface temperatures are likely to bring a warmup by Monday. Forecast models, in fact, indicate the potential for temperatures to rise into the upper 50’s to lower 60’s before a cold front passes through.
Behind this storm system? You guessed it, more cold. But the good news for now is that the pattern looks to remain changeable. There will be a bit of weather for everybody. At least for a few more weeks — before ‘Ol man winter really drops the hammer.