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Thanksgiving Day features light wintry mix as new, active pattern continues

Dave Hayes operates a daily blog on Facebook (facebook.com/WesternMassWeather), where he produces hyper-local reports, answers questions, and keeps more than 20,000 followers informed and educated about the weather.

Good morning, afternoon or night to you!

The most recent upslope snow event which brought several inches of snow to portions of western Windham County illustrates a point I want to raise at the top of this week’s column.

That point being that beyond 48-72 hours, weather prediction accuracy drops off markedly. In other words, printing a forecast a week out is like starting a painting — you can brush in the broad shapes, but the details and finishing touches aren’t possible to know this far out.

Having said that, hello winter! The pattern has changed, and while some warm-ups are possible into December, we’ve stepped down into an early winter flow.

Our pattern through Sunday morning will be dominated by three storm systems. Two shortwaves (i.e., small areas of low pressure) Wednesday night into Thanksgiving Day and again Friday into Friday night, with the potential for a more robust system on Saturday.

All have the potential to produce scattered showers of mixed rain and snow in the valleys, and snow and ice in the mountainous locations.

For Tuesday, morning snow showers will give way to a mostly cloudy day in the hills, and a partly sunny day in the valley near the New Hampshire border. Winds will gust out of the west over 20 mph at times, with highs in the 30s. Radiational cooling sets up Tuesday night with lows in the low 20s in the valleys, and high teens in the mountains.

For Wednesday, we start off sunny with highs in the upper 30s, but cloud up near or after sunset as the next system approaches. Lows will be in the 20s.

Snow showers could break out Wednesday night into Thanksgiving Day morning as moisture rides over cold air locked in at the surface, thanks to departing high pressure. We could see a mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain, or rain on Thanksgiving Day. All should be light, but could be enough to cause travel delays, so stay alert to changing weather conditions. Showers of snow and/or ice could continue into the night, with lows in the 20s.

For Friday, more scattered light rain and snow showers are possible with highs either side of 40 degrees. By Saturday, a coastal storm could be developing and bring steadier snow and rain into the region, depending on elevation.

By later on Sunday into early next week, we should see some fair weather return with highs in the low 40s. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Originally published in The Commons issue #384 (Wednesday, November 23, 2016). This story appeared on page D2.

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