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Wintry mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain may come for Christmas

Dave Hayes maintains a daily blog on Facebook (facebook.com/WesternMassWeather), where he produces hyper-local reports, answers questions, and keeps more than 26,000 followers informed and educated about the weather.

Good day to you, fellow humans. We’ve got some up-and-down temperature swings to roll through this week, but the main story is the potential for wintry impacts starting Friday afternoon and lasting through Christmas Day before another blast of very cold Arctic air moves back into southern Vermont to close out 2017.

The details want to be gotten into, so let’s get into them!

For Wednesday, a cold front passes through the region and clears us out after some morning clouds with a possible snow shower early. Highs will only reach into the mid to upper 20s under mostly sunny skies. Winds could gust out of the west to 20 mph or so.

As the winds die down, skies clear, and drier air works into the region, radiational cooling will be maximized and produce lows down into the upper single digits and low teens.

For Thursday, an even colder day is on tap as high pressure crests over the region. Expect sunny skies with highs in the low 20s and lows in the teens.

In other words, the narrow temperature change from day to night indicates a more southerly flow will start to work into the region, such that highs on Friday will reach into the low 30s.

Speaking of Friday, a storm system will be passing to our west, but will float its warm front towards southern Vermont. The problem is that antecedent cold air will be in place, and so the warmer air rising up and over the cold dome at the surface will allow snow to break out across Windham County Friday afternoon and evening.

As warmer air works in aloft, snow will likely change to sleet and freezing rain into Saturday morning, which will cause icy roadways to start the weekend.

In addition, cold air is tough to scour out and the icing could last well into Saturday in spots before changing to all rain with highs in the upper 30s to low 40s. Snow showers will be possible at night with lows in the upper 20s.

Sunday starts off partly sunny with highs in the mid 30s but clouds will be on the increase, with mixed precipitation expected Sunday night and through Christmas Day.

It’s too early for specifics, but a messy mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain looks quite plausible and may disrupt holiday travel, so give yourself extra time and be careful if conditions deteriorate. After that, cold air blasts in for Tuesday with highs only in the 20s.

Have a great week, and Merry Christmas!

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Originally published in The Commons issue #439 (Wednesday, December 20, 2017). This story appeared on page D3.

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