Wednesday, 9 a.m.
A southerly flow of increasingly moist air is spreading up the I95 corridor, where the dawn was greeted by dreary dullness and dim, drab drippiness from Maryland to Massachusetts. There are also some showers from western New York to Ohio along a cold front that will reach the East Coast this evening. When that cold front arrives, it will usher in a dry air mass that pulls back the curtain of clouds to reveal brilliant sunshine that plays off the multicolored leaves in the Northeast from tomorrow into the weekend.
In New York City and Philadelphia, typical afternoon temperatures are well up in the 60s at this time of year. Nights cool to about 50 in the cities, but well down in the 40s in many suburbs. The air masses in place from tomorrow through Saturday will bring temperatures that run about a half-dozen degrees below those long-term averages. Saturday morning is apt to be frosty in the colder suburbs from Washington, D.C., to New York City and below freezing in upstate New York and much of New England's interior. However, a strong southwesterly flow of warmer air could boost temperatures to 70 degrees in these areas on Sunday afternoon.
A strong storm is likely to cut through the Great Lakes Saturday night and Sunday, and its associated cold front will trigger showers and even thunderstorms. However, the air coming in behind that storm should not be as chilly as the air that follows this week's fronts. The reason: this week's upper air flow into the Northeast can be traced back to northwest Canada. Next week's main upper air current looks like it will be straight west to east. The video has more.
This map shows the split flow that is predicted to be in place on New Year's Day. Note how the flow reaching northern Pennsylvania originates far north in Canada, whereas to flow aimed at Virginia comes from Mexico.
The maps I searched for were from December 1960. I was 13 and was thoroughly overjoyed when Philadelphia got 14.6 inches on Dec. 11 and 12. Schools were closed for three days, something that did not happen again until the Blizzard of January '96.
At midnight, the temperature will be in the 50s to low 60s from Virginia to Southern New England... more like late spring than Christmas time. Meanwhile, cold air will be advancing into western parts of Pennsylvania and New York, driven by strong winds. Earlier, this "cold" air mass looked like it would be more potent than it has turned out to be. This map shows the pressure pattern and some temperatures at 9 a.m.
Temperatures are likely to be in the 50s from Boston to Washington, D.C., during the nighttime hours of Christmas Eve. Dry chillier weather will arrive during Christmas Day, with dry weather lasting until at least Saturday.
This picture, which may or may not have been taken very recently, has a red dot near the North Pole. I cannot confirm that a red dot is there on the ground or that it means anything. We will monitor the area for any signs of activity and advise everyone to maintain the spirit of being nice and not naughty.
Rain with areas of fog should spread from Virginia to New Jersey Monday or Monday night then spread into New England for Tuesday. From the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania into the interior of New England this could at least start as snow or ice. The GFS for 1 AM New Year's Day looks interesting. See the map below. Whether or not this storm develops and where it will snow or rain cannot be precisely predicted two weeks in advance using these models.