Today was a bitterly cold day across much of the Northeast as a high pressure system with Polar origins continues to march its way south and east and over the region. The extremely dry mid to upper levels of the atmosphere only allowed for a modest amount of mid to level clouds that raced from northwest to southeast during the mid to late afternoon hours. Temperatures this afternoon were able to recover a bit from the low 20’s and middle to upper teens that we saw this morning, but only just a bit as the mid level airmass associated with this Polar high pressure system remains a good 10-20 degrees below normal for late December. Readings from the area were mostly stuck in the lower to middle 20’s, with locations farther north and west staying way down in the middle to upper teens! Conditions this evening will continue to support a good amount of radiational cooling with very low dewpoints, clearing skies, and light winds over the entire Mid Atlantic and Northeast. This should allow for temperatures to drop into the single-digits tonight, with lows around 5-10 likely for the immediate NYC area, and -5-0 degrees possible further north and west. There is the potential for these low temperatures to break some records this evening across the area, with JFK airport coming in at around 12 for the record low on this date.
Northwest winds will begin to pick up tonight to the north and west, and this will cause windchills to drop into the -15F territory later in the evening, prompting a wind chill advisory for counties in southern New York and Connecticut. Travel outside may become hazardous for those not wearing the appropriate clothing, so please bundle up if you’re heading out this evening!
Record Cold Possible Thursday and Friday
Tomorrow morning will likely start off extremely cold and clear, with temperatures likely staying the in single-digits for the majority of the morning commute. Polar high pressure will continue to make its way east throughout the day tomorrow, with dry and clear conditions likely as dry air and subsidence continue to pump in behind a stout northwesterly flow. Despite being a rather sunny day, tomorrow will have the potential to be a record cold day across portions of the NYC metro area and Northeast. Highs tomorrow may struggle to make it out of the upper teens tomorrow afternoon across locations just outside of the city, with low 20’s likely in and around the city. Wind chills will also be bitterly cold, with readings likely coming in at or around zero through the afternoon. The hi-res NAM model appears to be the most aggressive at this time, with highs staying in the teens until you get into southern New Jersey and Maryland, which would shatter many records if its indeed correct. Regardless, expect frigid and dry conditions for the remainder of the day tomorrow with winds gradually dying down towards the evening. This will allow for another healthy round of radiational cooling tomorrow night and should bring lows very close to breaking record low temperatures across the area once again for the second night in a row. Expect lows to drop down into the single-digits near the city with lows below-zero possible farther north and west.
Much of the same is likely on Friday the northwesterly flow continues over the area with single-digit readings to start off the day. A shortwave trough will be dropping down from Canada during the morning hours on Friday, but with a progressive flow and no available moisture to work with, this system will likely only be able to produce some middle to upper level clouds during the afternoon hours. Temperatures will once again be close to breaking records, with highs only in the lower 20’s and teens across the metro area. Winds will be a little more tame during the course of the day, but expect wind chills to likely make conditions feel a good 5-10 degrees colder than they actually are. More dry and frigid conditions are expected on Friday evening, with lows likely staying in the lower teens and single digits across much of the area.
New Years Weekend
Over the past week or so we have been watching a system that looked to have the potential to produce a appreciable amount of snow across the Northeast this weekend. This threat has certainly waned over the past few days as the models have simultaneously increased the amount of confluence over the Northeast, weakened the Pacific energy for this system, and flattened the SE ridge out ahead of this system. This has worked to ensure that a more flat scenario is likely, with any kind of surface cyclone development occurring well-offshore of the Mid-Atlantic coast. Right now there remains some disagreement as to whether or not the shortwave will have any potential moisture left with it during the day on Saturday when it moves through the Ohio Valley and Northeast. The European model has been hinting at this system maintaining just enough moisture this weekend to drop some very fluffy snow across the Mid Atlantic and Northeast, before moving quickly offshore. Other models are less enthusiastic about this scenario and keep Saturday dry and very cold, with highs in the teens and 20’s once again. While we have seen these smaller events trend back to a more impactful solution in the short-range over the past few weeks, we do have a severe lack of moisture to work with here and this will severely limit any potential snow event.
As we ring in the new year next week, some of the medium range guidance has been hinting at another potential coastal storm to evolve by Wednesday or so. Around that time the models are showing a ridge redeveloping over the west coast in response to an upper level low over the Eastern Pacific. Right around this time, a strong piece of Pacific energy is being modeled to ride up and over this ridge, which allows it to dig into the Plains states and possibly deepen once it reaches the east coast. This solution is around a week away at this point in time, but the overall upper air pattern around this time may support a coastal low forming off of the southeast coast, but whether or not this low heads east and out to sea, or comes up the coast is too far out to resolve. Just know that we will have to monitor the potential for this solution over the next few days and will have multiple updates over the next few days!
Have a great night!