Now that the blizzard of 2011 is in the record books, we are now dealing with the aftermath which includes some of the coldest temperatures we have seen around here in 15 years. Early February of 1996 was the last time we had ‘official' temperatures that dropped below the zero mark and we should have no trouble reaching negative numbers tonight. Speaking of records, the afternoon high of 16 today tied the record for the coldest daytime high for this date first set back in 1917. By the way, those sub-zero temperatures in Feb of 1996 were followed several days later by temperatures in the 70s. Don't get your hopes up though, that will not happen this time around.
Fortunately, the winds will be subsiding overnight and we should have much lighter winds for much of the day Thursday. However, it is the lighter winds that allows the atmosphere to stratify with the coldest air next to the surface which is why calm nights are usually our coldest nights. One mitigating factor that may work in our favor is some cloudiness overnight which may keep temperatures from completely cratering. Those high, thin, cirrus clouds will not help all that much though. Also, we expect lots of sunshine during the day Thursday allowing temperatures to rebound into the teens and lower 20s.
Friday morning could also see negative temperatures, but there will likely be more cloud cover by then and as we go through the day Friday there may even be some flurries. Temperatures will stay below freezing all day and are not expected to thaw out till Saturday afternoon. We will be above freezing again on Sunday, but not for long as another cold front will arrive by early Sunday and much colder air will once again be spreading over the state for early next week. This system will also have the potential for some light snow or flurries late Sunday and for the next few days after that.
In fact, the orientation of the jet stream aloft will continue to funnel cold fronts our way with another very cold system expected later next week. Eventually, this NW flow pattern aloft will change but the bottom line is we are not going to thaw out much right on through the latter part of next week. That also means there will be snow on the ground for quite an extended period of time.
As always, stay tuned and check back for updates.