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It feels like history is about to repeat itself.

Last Valentine’s Day weekend, after weeks and weeks of mild weather, southern New England received a shot of arctic air for two days. This was the coldest air since the 1950s around Boston, and that blast played a role in killing New England’s peach crop this year. Then, almost as quickly, temperatures rose far above average. The high on Valentine’s Day was a bone-chilling 12 degrees; the high two days later, a balmy 54.

Once again, we are in store for a round of wild weather swings.

Friday is going to be a sunny, blustery day — but very cold. I am forecasting a low of 5 degrees at Logan Airport, which would put Friday in the running for the coldest Dec. 16 on record. The current record low in Boston is 1 degree, set back in 1883 when records were taken at Milk Street. As the chart below shows, Friday might be the coldest Dec. 16 in 74 years.

The record in Worcester is even colder — 2 below zero, set back in 1932. I think we will come close to that Friday morning.


Temperatures Friday afternoon will remain in the teens. If Boston stays under 18 degrees, it would be the coldest Dec. 16 high temperature ever recorded.

And it won’t just be cold. This cold weather will be carried down to us from the Arctic region on very strong winds, with the core of the cold arriving Thursday night and Friday. Gusts will be over 40 miles per hour throughout the majority of the state, and some places along the coastline could see winds in excess of 60 miles per hour. Winds this strong can bring down trees and cause power outages.

They can also cause severe wind chill readings. The wind chill Friday morning could be below 9 degrees in Boston, and perhaps below 20 degrees in the western part of the state. This is the type of cold you should avoid being out in for very long, as frostbite becomes a real possibility when the wind chill dips that far below zero. Commuters should make sure to bundle up: Friday morning will be very uncomfortable if you’re waiting outside for the bus or T.


If the wind and the cold aren’t exciting enough for you, how about some snow? On Friday night, a storm system will approach and bring a quick increase in clouds with snow not far behind. Snow totals across Massachusetts will be similar to what we saw Monday — generally an inch or two at the coastline and up to 6 inches inland. There’s a chance Boston could see an inch or two more than what fell Monday. Last-minute holiday shoppers, take note: If you’re planning on hunting for gifts Saturday morning, be prepared for poor driving conditions in most areas.

The loop below shows the snow moving in (blue) and then changing to rain (green). The snow begins late Friday night and changes to rain Saturday mid-morning to mid-afternoon, south to north.

There will be one positive to the precipitation: The change to rain comes with a shot of milder air and ends the arctic outbreak for a couple of days. But the respite won’t be long — colder air will return Monday morning, and any moisture left will refreeze. If it’s windy enough, we won’t see any ice on the roads, but slick roads remain a possibility.


New England weather is rarely dull in the winter, but even by our standards the next several days will be a roller coaster.