Bitter Weekend, Temps Plunge, Snow Squalls

It looks like “old man” winter will be making a come back this weekend. So far it’s been the year without a winter. With the exception of a cold shot here and there that only lasts for a day or two, we really haven’t had to deal with too much in the way of snow and cold. Things are going to change quite a bit as we head into Saturday. It’s an interesting set up across the Mid Atlantic and Northeast. A strong arctic front will blast through the region producing a few snow squalls across southeastern Pennsylvania. This front, this time around, literally came straight from the pole. So the air behind it is bitter. It looks like overnight low temperatures in Boston could drop below zero this weekend with New York City dropping down into the upper single digits. For us, it wont be qute that cold, but highs in the 30s does look like a good bet. Below is a look at a few of the forecast models and what they’re showing for this weekend.

The NAM model (North American Mesoscale) blasts the front through the city by mid afternoon. Lets say between the hours of 2-5pm. This front will be accompanied by MUCH colder air, blustery wind chills and a few snow showers and squalls.

The observations in Philadelphia on Saturday according to this model may end up looking a little like this if the NAM pans out…

11:00am… Clouds and sun, breezy with a temp of 40 degrees, wind chills in the low 30s.

4:00pm… Cloudy, breezy and cold with snow showers. Temp 29, wind chill  17.

The GFS (Global Forecast System) model is a little quicker with the passage of the front, therefore the temps never have a chance to really moderate. As a matter of fact this model drives the front through so quickly that the high temperatures for the day may actually occur after midnight. This model is also colder than the NAM.

The observations in Philadelphia according to this model may end up looking like this if the GFS pans out…

7:00am… Cloudy, breezy and cold with a few snow showers. Temp  34, wind chill 27.

4:00pm…Clouds and sun, breezy and cold. Temp 26, wind chill 18.

This front will set up a bitter cold weekend overall for the Mid Atlantic and Northeast. If this were last winter or the winter before, this wouldn’t be too big of a deal. However, we have become accustomed to the mild 50s and 60s lately. So a sudden burst of arctic air will feel like just that … “arctic”! The interesting twist with all of this is the European forecast model. It tries to develop an area of low pressure along the arctic front. The European has it snowing actually for most of the day believe it or not. It doesn’t appear to be all that much, but with temps falling quickly and this area of low pressure strengthening quickly I could definitely see a situation where a quick burst may develop producing an inch or two.  Especially in southern New Jersey and Delaware.

At this time, it’s my belief that the GFS is correct, but we’ll see. Regardless of whether or not we get a few snow showers on Saturday or a quick inch or two, the bigger story will be the cold with this. Get set for a little greetings from the arctic! Saturday, Sunday and Monday will all be very cold with temps never getting out of the mid 30s Sunday and Monday.

Chris Sowers


About Chris Sowers

I'm the weekend meteorologist for WPVI-TV, Action News in Philadelphia. I've been forecasting for nearly twelve years now. Some of my stops along the way include Bowling Green, Kentucky and the windy city of Chicago, Illinois. I have an identical twin brother, Gary, and a younger brother Jason. I'm a big sports nut. I watch everything from football to baseball to hockey, even horse racing. Another passion of mine is finance. There's nothing like making money, and lots of it! But most of all I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I have a little niece, Gabriella, and four year old nephew Hayden. They both mean the world to me. So much so that I've started a little segment on my Action News facebook fan page called "Gabby says". Once a week little Gabriella gives her forecast to the city of "Brotherly Love!" You can catch me Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6-8am, 9-10:30am and then again at noon.
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