fb-pixel Skip to main content

The arrival of a cold front this weekend could mean snow in some parts of New England

A cold front (blue line) will move toward the coastline over the next 48 hours.
A cold front (blue line) will move toward the coastline over the next 48 hours.NOAA

We’ve had a couple of beautiful mornings with clear skies and a wonderful opportunity to view both the waning moon and Venus to the east and Mars setting in the west. Thursday features a lot of sunshine along with increasingly breezy conditions, but it’s also unusually mild with readings getting well into the 70s.

Temperatures Thursday afternoon will reach into the 70s in southern New England.
Temperatures Thursday afternoon will reach into the 70s in southern New England.NOAA

This warm air is being pushed northward on the backside of high pressure moving out to sea. The winds around the high pressure circulate clockwise and therefore on the left side, wind comes from the south. But the sunny and warm weather won’t last. As a matter of fact, for some parts of New England there’s actually snow in the forecast.

Advertisement



That’s right, mid-October often brings snow to parts of New England, and this year will be no exception. A cold front will be approaching from the west during Friday and then come to a screeching halt in eastern New England Friday night and early Saturday before resuming its trek eastward.

When you have frontal systems that stall along the coastline, with warm air to the east and cooler air to the west, you have at least some of the ingredients for a potential storm.

Later tomorrow, low pressure will develop along this frontal boundary and move northeast as a small coastal storm. If this were the depths of winter we might be looking at rain changing to snow before ending, even here in southern New England, but it’s just not cold enough yet.

So for us this will be a rain event and the rain could be significant, with over an inch probable in many areas. How progressive or fast-moving the storm is will determine whether or not we start seeing 2-inch amounts of rainfall.

It’s not out of the question that there’s an axis of 2-inch rain totals. This axis could be positioned somewhere between central Massachusetts and Cape Cod. Wherever the bullseye of heaviest rain is located, nobody is going to miss the rainfall, it’s just a matter of how much. This will continue to help the drought situation.

Advertisement



All areas of New England will see significant rainfall to start the weekend.
All areas of New England will see significant rainfall to start the weekend.Dave Epstein

Let’s talk about the snow. In the fall and spring, snow often is dependent on elevation because the lower levels of the atmosphere have become too warm. Late Friday night, colder air will work down from Canada as well as from above. The air is likely going to be cold enough above a few thousand feet so the precipitation that is still falling will do so as snow. If you are planning on hiking in the higher elevations of Vermont, New Hampshire, and western Maine, be aware there could be some significant snow at the highest peaks early Saturday morning. Even just a few inches can make trekking much more difficult if you’re not prepared. I expect places like Crawford Notch in New Hampshire to definitely have some accumulating snow.

Notice the areas of blue, which represent wet snow, in the highest elevations on Saturday morning
Notice the areas of blue, which represent wet snow, in the highest elevations on Saturday morningTropical Tidbits

The system is going to progress eastward on Saturday. There’s some difference in whether or not we get clearing by the middle or end of the day, however the system won’t linger into Sunday and that day is definitely going to be the pick of the weekend. Clouds, rain, and the wind off the water are kind of miserable and it will only reach the low to mid 50s on Saturday. In contrast, it’s back to the 60s with sunshine on Sunday. This mild weather will continue into much of next week, and there may be a few more 70-degree days in our future.

Advertisement



Follow Dave Epstein @growingwisdom.