Casual conversation at the anchor desk tonight revolved around next week’s late week warm up. “Yes, it looks like temperature will get into the 60s Thursday and Friday, but…” We came back from the commercial, and I didn’t get a chance to finish. It was probably better that way, because what I wanted to talk about, would not have been well received.
We’ve been watching the forecast for next week, as it looks like the coldest air in the northern hemisphere will dip into Canada. It’s rather unusual to see such cold air the final week in March so close to the northern tier of the United States. The set-up coming next weekend into the first full week of April is one that would raise an eyebrow in mid winter.
First, for all my weather geek friends, 4900 geopotential meter thickness values looks to skim northern Maine on Monday morning April 4th.
The last time thickness values where that low was in mid February when lows dipped to 10 to 20 below. Temperatures will not be nearly as cold this time around due to lack of snow pack, higher sun angle, and also length of day. The airmass should mean business though for a few days, supporting highs in the 30s and lows in the teens for many when normal highs are approaching 50 degrees.
Both GFS and European Models suggest a similar temperature around 5000 feet of about -20C, which is around -5 F in Maine. The good news for New England, the coldest should be centered west of our area.
NOAA’s 8 to 14 day outlook would agree.
I always like to say the first ingredient in a snow storm is the cold air. Modeling is not suggesting any major snow storms at this point, but given the look of this pattern, I would be surprised if Maine has seen its last snow flakes of the season. The unseasonably cold temperatures and snow threat should hang around for about a week. The second half of the month looks warm. Infact NOAA is suggesting temperatures above average for the month of April.
Just in case you’re wondering, if March 2016 were to end today, Portland would go into the books 7th warmest on record. Records go back to 1941.