With apologies to winter haters...and snow lovers...the event of "Winter" 2022-23 is likely to take place over the next 48 hours.
Computer guidance has come into greater agreement that a brief but high-end blast of cold directly from the Arctic will impact New England, which will bring the coldest temperatures and wind chills since 2016--when much of New England saw its coldest temperatures since the 1950s.
Over the course of the week, the guidance has coalesced around enough of the Tropospheric Polar Vortex (TPV) descending into New England to bring rare cold, both at the surface and overhead. In fact, some guidance has shown near all-time record cold just above the surface for parts of New England.
This is not standard southern New England cold.
The Arctic front will bulldoze its way down into New England overnight. Currently, temperatures are fine, but between midnight and approximately 6am the front will cross New England. This is faster than what was originally thought earlier in the week. We will also watch for snow squalls, but the parameters for those look better for northern and central New England.
The result is a much colder Friday and heightened potential for school closings. Now, I know that there are folks out there that recoil at the idea of closing school for cold, but this is not standard New England cold.
We will see midnight highs, meaning that your apps that show highs in the 20s are irrelevant. By the time most wake up, temperatures will already have dropped in the teens inland to low 20s at the shore. In the wake of the front, the wind will pick up dramatically as cold air advects in. Guidance is actually showing higher wind potential today, on the order of gusts between 40-50mph. That won't change our thoughts that power outage risk is low, but will likely mean colder wind chills tomorrow afternoon.
For many in CT, wind chills will be near to below zero throughout the day. This is why we see Wind Chill Warnings and Wind Chill Advisories in effect from tomorrow morning through Saturday morning.
Below is a depiction from one of the warmer models, the high resolution NAM, from 5am to noon. These temperatures, combined with the wind, will make frostbite possible for exposed skin.
As bad as the morning is, the afternoon and evening will be worse. Part of the reason why we have been hammering home this cold blast is because people will get caught off-guard by the dropping temperatures.
Temperatures will continue to drop during the day as the worst of the TPV settles in. Even with our warmer guidance, inland temperatures are dropping through the teens mid-afternoon, and will be approaching zero by the evening commute. For some of the colder guidance, this happens even faster. By the evening commute, all of Connecticut will have wind chills solidly below zero.
This is the peak of the cold. For record keeping purposes, we will be watching just how low the temperatures go Saturday morning. Currently, it looks like the shoreline will be very close to zero, while inland areas will see lows between -5 and -10. Again, this is high end cold, especially if the colder temperatures are realized.
At any rate, the wind will continue to be an issue as cold advects in, and that means wind chills will bottom out during this period with -15 to -30 wind chills. Parts of New England will challenge records with these wind chills.
Wind chills will remain below zero through Saturday morning, but gradually rise as the wind diminishes.
Hot off the presses, below is the 18z European depiction of wind chills tomorrow and Saturday.
Putting this in context, this is big time cold. While we do see temperatures below zero every few years, the combination of cold and wind will bring some of the coldest conditions in quite some time in the state. Just aloft, we're looking at near all-time records for temperatures. It's really a question of how effectively we can mix down the cold. It will not be 100% efficient, but this brief shot of cold is legit.
A brief and intense shot of cold is textbook "Montreal Express".
Make sure you take precautions for yourself, your pets, and your pipes!
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