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Boston Weather: 39.0°F | Fair


Clear and Cold

By Michael J. Ring

The weather map will be unusually quiet over the next few days, as only a few areas of snow and rain showers will mar otherwise clear skies across the country today.

Today’s forecast is certainly a far cry from last Friday, when Cambridge received about 8 inches of snow from a fast-moving nor’easter that snarled traffic across greater Boston. The storm conditions were especially difficult as the precipitation did not fall completely as snow, but turned from snow to rain and back to snow.

The exact storm track greatly affects the type of precipitation that Boston receives from winter storms. As the circulation around the low pressure is counterclockwise, warm air is advected to the east of the center and cold air to the west of the center. Hence a storm center staying far offshore produces snow, while an inland track favors rain. In between these extremes, however, are tracks which result in changing precipitation for Boston, and the city passes from cold to warm to cold air as the storm comes through. These nor’easters produce the icing of roadways and runways that makes travel so dangerous.

The storm track is worth keeping in mind as another coastal storm is expected to develop for Friday. Currently, projections show it taking an inland track, so the current forecast is for precipitation to fall as mainly rain.

Extended Forecast

Today: Clearing but cold. High near 27 F (-3 C).

Tonight: Continued clear but cold. Low near 17 F (-8 C).

Wednesday: Clear and cold again. High near 29 F (-2 C). Low near 19 F (-7 C).

Thursday: Cloudy and slightly warmer. High near 33 F (1 C). Low near 28 F (-2 C).

Friday: Rain and snow likely. High near 38 F (3 C).