Weather Wisdom

At -9 degrees, it's the coldest morning in Boston since 1957

The last time Bostonians awoke to a morning as cold as February 14th, the year was 1957 and weather satellites didn't even exist yet. For that matter, Sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite, wouldn't go into space until the fall of that year.

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In other words, it's been a very long time since we've seen this type of arctic blast. If you were skeptical about the warnings of the cold, perhaps the wind chill readings between 30 and 45 below zero earlier helped put it into perspective.

On Sunday morning, temperatures dropped to 9 degrees below zero, the lowest temperature in the month of February in 49 years. The coldest temperature ever in Boston -- 18 degrees below zero -- was set in 1934 when readings where taken over on Milk Street. That number would be very difficult to reach with the city as built up as it is today.

Worcester also set a record low of 16 degrees below zero.

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Temperatures will remain frigid all day, with highs struggling to reach between 5 and 10 degrees this afternoon in Boston and 10 to 15 degrees on Cape Cod. Speaking of the Cape, even Provincetown went below zero this morning -- a rare occurrence indeed.

It will be cold overnight, but with little or no wind. This means Boston won't be nearly as cold, with temperatures likely staying in the lower single digits. Low-lying spots like Norwood, for example, could fall under 10 below zero again.

Milder Temps, Rain Ahead
Monday brings a return flow of milder air and some clouds. Overnight there will be a quick period of snow, sleet and even some freezing rain before it turns balmy enough for plain rain that will fall throughout most of the day Tuesday. The early morning commute Tuesday could be problematic north and west of Boston. I'll have more on the exact timing of this tomorrow, but it's definitely not a winter precipitation event.

With wind chills in the minus-45-degree range in Worcester earlier this morning and highs forecast to be near 45 on Tuesday, there will be an astounding 90-degree temperature surge taking place over the course of about 60 hours. Simply amazing.

Some Plant Damage Likely
If you are a gardener and experiment with plants, you should anticipate significant die-back or complete damage from this type of cold. As the sun heats up the plants this afternoon, the cell walls inside some the more tender ones will actually explode and kill the plants. Certain insects like the wooly adelgid, which attacks hemlock trees, will be set back quite a bit from this morning's cold.

I'd love to hear from you. How cold did you get this morning? Find me on Twitter @growingwisdom

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