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Forecast: Wind Chill Will Be A Big Factor This Weekend

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There’s a lot going on in the weather this morning. First off, it’s cold with low wind chills. This isn’t the same mass of cold air you’ve likely been hearing about for the weekend; rather it’s a pool of arctic air ahead of the main thrust.

The cold air this weekend is serious. You’ll hear words like "dangerous" and "life-threatening." This is true if you or your pets spend any length of time outside with exposed skin. However, if you dress properly, cover your face, hands and head you can still be outside for a short periods of time.

There are two types of messages the National Weather Service issues around the cold. The first is a wind chill advisory and the other is a warning. Here's the difference:

"Wind Chill Warning: This means life threatening cold with wind chill temperatures computed to be -25 degrees or less for at least 3 hours. Exposure to this combination of strong winds and low temperatures without protective clothing will quickly lead to frostbite and/or hypothermia. Longer exposures can be fatal.

"Wind Chill Advisory: This is issued for cold temperatures and winds, with wind chill temperatures computed to be -15 degrees or less for at least 3 hours. Exposure to this combination of strong winds and low temperatures without protective clothing can lead to frostbite and/or hypothermia. Prolonged exposure may be fatal."

If you are going to northern New England this weekend the skiing is good, not great. This is the kind of weekend you want to bring your warmest weather gear.

Before the cold air arrives, a storm will pass out to sea south of New England. Some light snow will clip Cape Cod overnight and leave a coating to 2 inches. The image below from NOAA shows the areas most likely to see some snow.

Cape Cod snowfall potential. (Courtesy NOAA)
Cape Cod snowfall potential. (Courtesy NOAA)

Saturday and Sunday will both be very cold days. Sunday is colder with temperatures beginning near or below zero and remaining in the single numbers much of the day. If Boston reaches 3 below they will tie the record low for the date, a 4 below reading breaks it and becomes the first new record low in February in 49 years. How’s that for perspective?

Low temperatures on Sunday morning. (Courtesy NOAA)
Low temperatures on Sunday morning. (Courtesy NOAA)

You can follow my weather updates on Twitter at @growingwisdom.


Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 25.

Tonight: Cloudy, some snow showers, but accumulating a snow coating up to 2 inches over Cape Cod.

Saturday: Cold and dry, with highs in the teens, but temperatures falling late in the day.

Sunday: Bitter cold. Temperatures under 10 most of the day. Lows near or below zero.

Monday: Mostly sunny with a passing snow shower. Not as cold. Highs 23-27.

David Epstein Twitter Meteorologist
David Epstein is WBUR's meteorologist.

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