One more cold day before a stormy, but warmer mid-week for Maine

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The recent cold snap gives the region its coldest day yet on Monday. Temperatures begin to rise on Tuesday as an “inside runner” system approaches the region, bringing another round of wintry precipitation Tuesday night into Wednesday. Another storm bring another round of wintry mix & rain for Thursday.

One More Bitter Cold Day

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While it will be a dry day for the state, it will certainly be cold. Many areas away from the coast start the day below zero, then struggle to get above zero, especially in the north and mountains. Sun will be abundant to start off for most of the south and west. A weak wave approaches the region in the afternoon which will bring a milky hue to skies as high and mid-level clouds filter in.

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A west/northwest breeze will help keep wind chill values below zero for the mountains, north and eastern areas of the state, and in the single digits elsewhere. The good news is a temporary warm up is on the way for the middle part of the week.

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With high pressure drifting south of the state during the day Monday, a southwest wind flow develops as the high moves eastward. The mountains and north may experience some snow showers Monday night as a weak wave slides across the region. To the west, two systems combine into one Monday night and race eastward towards the Great Lakes Tuesday. Precipitation from that storm arrives in Maine late Tuesday afternoon.

More Snow, Mix, And Rain Midweek

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Light snow, areas of mixed precipitation and rain develop over the region between roughly 4 -7 PM Tuesday afternoon which may make the evening commute slick in spots. Warm air will continue to build into the region Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

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By around 1 AM on Wednesday, the storm appears to track near James Bay. With a southwest flow and a strong low pressure system to work with, it does appear that above freezing air will ultimately wash the cold air out. The question at this point for this forecaster is when that will occur. The mountains and north are likely to see snow Tuesday night into early Wednesday. In areas of the interior, there is a period of sleet & freezing rain possible overnight. As with storms in the recent past, I have my doubts if models are handling the cold air right.

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This model above is the American GFS model. This model traditionally has a cold bias to it in regards to near surface temperature. In situations such as this one where the region has had deep cold and now that the entire state has snow on the ground, I tend to pay a bit closer attention to this model in storms such as this. While the model indicates all areas appear above freezing, it is not by a whole lot for the interior and north. At 1 PM on Wednesday, it has temperatures around 32°- 34° over most of the area way from the coast. Precipitation at that point indicates all rain for the area, but color me skeptical that when that rain hits the ground that it doesn’t freeze on contact in spots since the ground is completely frozen. While I believe in many areas that it won’t, the mountain valleys and areas west of Route 1 in northern Maine may experience freezing rain in areas well into the day. As the precipitation ends later in the day, expect areas that did thaw out to refreeze towards nightfall and overnight into Thursday.

As that storm exits, another storm on its heels arrives Thursday. This one appears all rain for everyone as it stands right now, with highs in the mid-30s to mid-40s, but temperatures crash back to mid-January level cold starting in the wee hours of Friday, falling through the day, and the state falls back into the freezer by Saturday morning.

More updates to come.

~ Mike Haggett

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Mike Haggett

About Mike Haggett

As a Mainer for nearly five decades, Mike understands all too well the ever changing weather forecasts and surprises given the location and geography of the state. Spending much of his time as child outdoors fishing in all four seasons, keeping track of the weather was a must for personal safety. Living firsthand through the impacts of weather through many types of storms and phenomena, the idea came to mind for him to analyze it closer in 2011.