Thursday December 05, 2013 | 08:56 PM
Posted by David Epstein

 Damp conditions continue overnight across all of southern Maine.  Some light fog can become quite dense late at night and travel could be impacted in places.  As milder air to our south tries to ride north it's getting stuck and producing all this fog.  The battle between warm and cold air is going to play a big role in our weather over the next 5 days.

During the day I update the forecast as it changes on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.

 

Cold arctic air continues to move into the country. You can see from the evening temperature map there is very cold air over Montana and the Dakotas with very warm air here in the east.   In winter, the width of the cold air mass across the country has limits.  What I mean is when it's cold in the far west, it's usually warm in the east.  If the cold moves east, the warm air end up out west.  This is the case for bitter arctic outbreaks and why we are so mild this morning here, while much of the western part of the country is enduring brutal cold.

Over the next 10 days the cold is forecast to spread eastward and pieces of the coldest air will nick New England.  The further north you go into Maine, the deeper into the cold you would be.  The loop below shows the movement of the cold air mass through next week.  Notice the coldest air, the purples and reds coming from the upper most regions of the planet.  As first, the cold air settles in the west, then we get a quick shot of the cold air, followed by a warm-up again.

It’s during the change from warm to cold air and back to warm, when we will be most vulnerable for messy weather.

Overnight  the warmer air is streaming north and will attempt to envelop the region.  Early tomorrow morning temperatures will be spring-like in the 40s.   I don't expect much precipitation overnight until well after midnight, although there could be a passing shower before then.

Early Friday, a cold front will approach the area.  Ahead of this front showers will break out and a period of steadier rain will fall.   There will then be a break in the rainfall as the front slowly creeps eastward off the coast. I expect much of the midday hours Friday to be dry. Later in the day and during the overnight Friday another area of rain will move northward along the front and cause more wet weather.  The radar image is for Friday evening around 11PM.  It will be too warm initially for the precipitation to fall as snow or sleet, but eventually, as colder air moves in, the rain could change briefly to snow or sleet as it ends Saturday in the wee hours.  I am not expecting anything remotely significant from this system in terms of winter weather.  Remember, it doesn't take much to bring slick travel to the area, so be careful if you are traveling early Saturday morning.

The weekend looks dry and chilly.  Temperatures will be in the 30s, but there will be an abundance of sunshine.  The true arctic air will remain well to our north and west.

On Sunday night and Monday a weak storm will affect the region. Two elements are going to play together to give us some wintry weather.  First, the cold air is going to be entrenched enough when the precipitation begins for snow and sleet.  Second, a small storm is forecast to form along the coast as the first storm moves to our west, when this happens, the storm on the coast keeps the cold air in place, often longer than expected.

The bottom line is the Monday morning commute is under the gun for trouble.   This event is still days away, but there could be enough snow and sleet to shovel and plow for parts of the area, especially west  of the coastline.    Throughout the weekend, as we get new information, I'll update the blog and the possibility of the messy Monday drive.

The image below is called a meteogram and shows the temperature and precipitation forecasts for the next week.  The green bars represent melted precipitation and don't show rain vs. snow.  Notice how close temperatures are to freezing when the precipitation falls, this is the forecast challenge.

 

Outdoor project this weekend In this video I show you a project you can do this weekend and bring the kids along too.

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About the Author

David Epstein has been a meteorologist for more than 25 years. He spent 16 years in Boston and currently freelances at WGME13 in Portland.

In 2006, David founded GrowingWisdom.com, a business producing educational and marketing videos for the green industry. He currently is a professor at Framingham State College, teaches Jan Plan at Colby College and owns Bloomscapes Inc., a landscape design business.

David authored "Gardens Of New England" and his work has been published in Grolier's Science Annual for 10 years. He lives in South Natick, Mass., and has a summer home in Harpswell.

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