Friday 9 a.m.
Much the Northeast will have a warmup to start the weekend, followed by a cold front that can set off strong thunderstorms. The weekend will end with a cooling trend that will last through Monday night. Another warmup will follow.
As autumn begins and winter approaches, Sam the Dog patiently waits for the opportunity to take advantage of all the fur he keeps growing. When I asked him when he thought it might get cold, he just looked at me.
Feelings of Fall
•Fall has a rich diversity few other seasons can match. Its winds bring fresh surprise at each turn; its days of calm mean fog that cloaks the dawn and nullifies noon.
•Fall colors scream for attention as summer's emerald draperies are splashed with auburn, set ablaze with firethorn, streaked with burnished copper, then saturated in chocolate just before Halloween.
•If spring is the chameleon season, autumn is its cousin. One day is bright and crisp, brimming with fresh vitality; the next is under a dreary roof of slate framed by curtains of steel wool.
•But, when winter's scouts retreat north for reinforcements, an eerie still is left behind. The quiet is punctuated by the quick tick of a bouncing acorn. The scene of vivid crispness is hidden by a haze that smears the colors in dirty air. The waning sun is too feeble to stir the grimy soup; fog lingers through damp mornings. Later, the haze tints muted sunbeams on bittersweet warm afternoons. You can just barely feel the hint of bygone summer, but the lengthening shadows and eager evening dusk say warm times are headed for history.
•As the sun wearies of its heated climb through summer skies, the woodlands are tossed into an autumn salad bar. The leaner diet of light and fingers of frost lace the chervil and sage greens of summer with oregano, pumpkin spice and cinnamon.
•The ocean of summer green now has islands of amber and auburn amidst currents of crimson, the mixing colors changing each day. Nature has taken its full palette of pastels, earth tones and half shades and thrown them together in a tapestry simultaneously chaotic and yet invitingly familiar. Autumn is truly our annual sunset, the rich colors and interweaving of light providing our last look at the year, with the winter night temporarily postponed but imminently inevitable.
•Autumn's loud colors are matched by its noisy winds. The brittle leaves crackle in the breeze, a sure giveaway it's autumn on those increasingly rare warm south wind nights. The leaves lodge in the lawns, shove into shrubs and burrow into the bushes; the cereal box crunchiness amplifies the sound of footsteps.
• Brash noise and sullen solitude. Bold bright colors and dim dreariness. Tossed trees with spiced scenery. How they match life's many moods and tastes. For here in one season is captured the diversity of the entire annual cycle of earthly life. Yet for all of its richness and variety, few of its scenes and sounds will last out the year.
In Boston and New York City, the cold may feel most harsh late tomorrow and tomorrow evening. The temperatures will not have hit bottom by then, but gusty winds will sharpen the chill.
One concern: the chance of cold frontal snow squalls that could move all the way to the East Coast tomorrow night. Sudden snow squalls have been implicated in chain reaction collisions that turn deadly and damaging.
These two maps show the change from the very, very cold flow likely this Saturday to the much milder Pacific-origin westerly flow later next week.
When we look more closely, we see a variety of disturbances embedded in the main current, each capable of temporarily increasing or cutting off the chance of snow. This map shows the setup:
This map shows the circulation around the offshore storm and a larger but less intense storm moving into the Great Lakes. With this sprawling storm likely to be in the region for several days, the weather can vary widely.
...speculation about a snowstorm Monday or Tuesday, and one is still possible. However, timing and placement remain elusive. This map shows the GFS ensemble mean "solution" for Tuesday morning showing snow just off the New England coast. Watch this story evolve on accuweather.com all weekend.