Saturday could be one of the coldest days in years in Massachusetts

By Terry Eliasen, WBZ-TV Meteorologist, Executive Weather Producer

BOSTON – The WBZ Weather Team has issued the FOLLOWING Weather Alert for a chilly Friday and Saturday.

As the month of January winds down, it’s only fitting that our lead weather story is a shot of bitterly cold, arctic air, the coldest air we’ve seen this winter.

Usually by this point in January we’ve had at least a couple of cold ‘flares’. This year, nada.

Boston had only one day this month with temperatures below average (and it was only one degree cooler). This month, the city hasn’t had a day with a low temperature below 20 or a high temperature of 32 or below, both records. With just one day left, it looks like January 2023 will finish third for the warmest January ever recorded in Boston.

All of which makes what comes later this week all the more remarkable. How strange would it be to have one of the coldest winter days in years in the midst of one of the warmest winters on record?

The silver lining with this cold shot is that there will be absolutely NO resistance. The cold will drop early Saturday and by Sunday afternoon temperatures will be back near 40 degrees. Also, the longer-term outlook for the first few weeks of February looks more of the same – soft.

Ok so the cold is coming no doubt, the only question is how low will we go? Looking back over the past 10 years, Boston has gone below freezing on 6 occasions, the last of which was about 5 years ago.

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If you go back and look at the 150 years or so of record keeping in Boston, the city has seen some REALLY cold days, most of which were in the late 1800’s and early 20th century. The lowest temperature ever recorded was 18 below in 1934 – YUM!

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I don’t think we’ll challenge any of these all-time records, but some daily records are certainly totally attainable.

Friday will be an upside down day with the warmest temperatures coming early in the morning followed by a drop in temperature throughout the day.

The high temperature for the day on Friday will go into the books somewhere around 32 degrees. Again, this comes early in the day. By midday the whole area (north of the South Coast) will be in the tweens.

By the evening commute, most of southern New England is in the single digits.

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We bottomed out overnight with most of the area dropping below freezing.

Actual air temperatures are likely to drop to -10 to -20 degrees by Saturday morning.

If the city of Boston hits -10, it will be the coldest reading on record in over 60 years, since January 15, 1957!

The record low temperature for Saturday’s date is -2 degrees (set way back in 1886), I’d say the odds are very high that it will be broken.

Combine that with the potential for wind gusts over 20 mph early Saturday and the wind chill readings are absolutely absurd. Worst case scenario, parts of the area north and west of Boston could feel like temperatures between -20 and -40 degrees!

Winds ease during the day on Saturday, but temperatures are not likely to return to the low-teens. Without a doubt our coldest day of the season so far.

Remarkably, the cold will leave as quickly as it arrives! By Sunday afternoon, temperatures will return to near or above normal, around 40 degrees, and there may even be some RAIN showers tonight!

With the cold so severe, there are a few things to keep in mind. Frost can form in less than 15 minutes. If you have to go out early on a Saturday, it’s better to be prepared than to be caught off guard.

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There will be wide-ranging impacts from potential damage to fruit trees to burst pipes. It would be wise to check the condition of your car battery if you are heading out into the core of the cold and also take precautions if your pipes are old or have a history of bursting.

Finally, this could be a situation suitable for “frost tremors”, otherwise known as “cryoseisms”. This is the new weather word of the day! They can feel like small earthquakes and can often be accompanied by loud booming sounds. Essentially, the rapidly falling and extremely cold temperatures cause the water underground to freeze. The new ice expands, putting pressure on the surrounding soil and bedrock. This CAN lead to freeze tremors or cryoseisms! Nothing to worry about, but if you hear a boom, now you’ll know!

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Stay with WBZ-TV, CBSBoston.com and CBS News Boston for frequent updates leading up to and during the cold snap later this week!

#Saturday #coldest #days #years #Massachusetts

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