Weather Wisdom

This Valentine's Day will likely be the coldest one since 1979

Pure arctic air is on the way for the weekend, and if you're among those who aren't looking forward to it, at least I can say it won't last very long.

But there are some, ahem, cool things we can check out when it comes to the upcoming cold snap. The map below shows the trajectory of the air arriving here on Sunday morning. It's basically coming almost uninterrupted from the North Pole. The shorter trajectory from the north means the air is closer to the temperature it was when it started flowing south.


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So how cold will it be this weekend? I suspect Logan will go below zero Sunday morning for only the fourth such occurrence on that date. There's an outside chance of tying the record or even breaking the it. Forecasting to the exact degree is pretty much luck. It should be between 2 and 4 below zero Sunday morning at Logan.

The record low temperature for Valentine's morning is 3 below zero at Logan back in 1934, and 11 below in Worcester in 1979. Although Boston didn't break the low temperature record 37 years ago, it was the coldest high temperature, only reaching 15 degrees. The folks at the National Weather Service in Taunton have put together a nice summary of the records for Valentine's Day below:


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If Logan airport does reach a new low temperature record Sunday morning, it will be the first such type of cold record in February in 49 years!

It's not just that the actual temperatures will be cold. The wind will create apparent temperatures in the -15 to a whopping 30 below zero range. These kind of numbers don't occur much in southern New England and a wind chill warning has been issued.


This cold is also tough on pets, so it's important to not keep them outside very long this weekend. Your car doesn't feel wind chill, but with below zero air in place it's a good idea to keep the gas tank at least half full.

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It'll also be different than last year. In 2015, the cold went on and on all month, with the coldest of the cold on February 16, 2015. This weekend, temperatures will quickly moderate and return to above seasonal averages by Tuesday. But not before we have one more very cold morning to start the work week, especially in the suburbs. Norwood, for example, could go a degree colder Monday than on Sunday with good radiational cooling.

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