Powerful Arctic frontal passage on Friday mid-day/afternoon
By mid-day or early afternoon on Friday, the leading edge of this intensely cold Arctic air mass will reach the Mid-Atlantic’s I-95 corridor. The powerful Arctic surface front will have quite a dramatic passage at mid-day or early afternoon on Friday afternoon with strong and potentially damaging winds shifting to a W-NW direction, plunging temperatures as much as 25 or 30 degrees in just a couple of hours and this can cause a quick freeze-up or “flash freeze” of any lingering wet spots on roadways from the prior rainfall. In addition, there can be a burst of snow in the immediate aftermath of the frontal passage potentially producing a quick small accumulation
Temperatures will continue to drop sharply on Friday night and the weekend promises to be frigid not only in the Mid-Atlantic region, but throughout the eastern half of the nation. In fact, this will likely turn out to be the coldest Christmas Eve (Saturday) and Christmas Day (Sunday) in many years in the eastern half of the country. Single digit temperatures are certainly on the table in the DC-to-Philly-to-NYC corridor both on Saturday morning and again on Sunday (Christmas) morning. Winds will remain quite strong all weekend long making it quite difficult for the lighting of luminaries in those neighborhoods that follow that tradition. In terms of a follow-up thaw in the eastern US, it is pretty much inevitable that temperatures will become noticeably milder later next week as this incoming Arctic air mass in the central and eastern US will actually be the coldest air in all of North America. The thaw can then continue into the first week of January as well in much the same part of the nation that will experience this intensely cold Arctic air outbreak.
Meteorologist Paul Dorian
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