Greater Boston, North Shore and Metro West: After a January that delivered about 34 inches of snow to Boston and temperatures nearly -3 degrees below normal we entered a whole new world of Winter misery in February with some 60 inches of snow and temperatures running -12.5 degrees below normal. It is already the snowiest February on record and for that matter the snowiest month ever on record. If the month were to end today it would also be the coldest February on record. With just over a week left in the month and with the relentless cold and snowy pattern in place the month of February will certainly be one for the record books for snowfall and possibly for cold as well.
Just to give you an idea of how cold it has been Boston’s low temperatures have fallen to 17 degrees or lower each night in February. Seven times the mercury has fallen below 10 and below zero twice. The average low for this time of year is about 24. Every single day this month the average temperature has fallen below normal. Our average high now is near 38. The last time we broke 40 was way back on January 19th. It all adds up to a significantly cold month so far and this pattern should persist into next week, although a brief respite from the bitter cold arrives over the second half of this weekend, but it will be short lived as another bitter blast arrives Sunday night into early next week.
Over the past few weeks the Boston area has been overwhelmed with staggering snowfall. We continue to close in on the record snowfall of 1995-96 when 107.6 inches fell. Many of the suburbs have already exceeded 100 inches and Boston is knocking on the door with 97.9 inches making this the 2nd snowiest Winter on record.
Thursday was an interesting day. The area woke to another covering of 1 to 3 inches of snow this morning that had fallen during the overnight. After some peeks of sunshine and temperatures climbing to around 30 degrees, that by the way is still some -8 degrees below the normal high, clouds filled back in and we experienced snow showers and a few squalls this afternoon all courtesy of an approaching arctic front. Bitter cold returns Thursday night behind the departing front and temperatures are going to tumble to zero to -5 below. Winds are expected to increase and could gust past 35 mph causing wind chills of -15 to -25 below zero and that folks is dangerously cold. The same conditions hold true as you depart the homestead Friday morning and although the mercury will climb well into the teens, perhaps reaching 20 in Boston, gusty winds early in the day will keep it harsh for those of you waiting at the bus stop or train station. Sunshine will do very little to help ease the sting. Another outrageously cold night is in store Friday night, but this time without the gusty winds. Under a mainly clear sky the mercury once again falls below zero for many of us, except perhaps right along the coast where it slips to a couple degrees above zero. Some interior valleys could reach -10 below!
Although the bitter cold retreats over the weekend another storm system looks to impact the area. Computer models are wavering on what may occur. Recent runs have moved the timing up a bit, meaning the precipitation may now start Saturday afternoon and the bulk of it be done with by midday Sunday. Also, we are dealing with a rain snow line this time around, which has not been the case during the recent snow blitz. Milder air running ahead in the upper levels will cause periods of icing inland, perhaps a change to rain along the coastal plain as surface temperatures slide above freezing there, but not before a few inches of snow fall. The changeover occurs Saturday night, or so it seems at this point. Stay tuned on this because things may change as the computer models come into better agreement Friday and Friday night. For those that may get rain it will be absorbed by the snow pack on your roofs and this causes additional concerns with the added weight.
Once this system departs later on Sunday it will draw down another blast of cold arctic air for Sunday night into Monday. Yet another chance for wintry weather may impact the area midweek.