Bitter cold beginning to 2018 - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Technical Discussion

Bitter cold beginning to 2018

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Today, New Year’s Day, will be frigid.  In fact, the core of the cold air will move directly over New England, making the day likely colder than yesterday.  Despite unlimited sunshine, temperatures will only reach the upper single digits and teens.  The wind chill will be sub-zero throughout the day.  The mercury will plunge to near zero Monday night.

Record cold highs are 7 (1918) at Bradley International and 21 (1963) at Bridgeport.  Bridgeport’s record cold maximum is in serious jeopardy.


Tuesday will be a little better, but still very cold.  The wind will be lighter and the sky will be sunny.  Temperatures are expected to reach the upper teens and lower 20s in the afternoon.

By Wednesday afternoon, we may have a shot at the freezing mark at least for some!  Highs will be in the upper 20s and lower 30s!  It’ll feel much better outside even though temperatures will remain below normal.  The normal high for early January is 35 degrees for the Greater Hartford Area.


Model forecast still suggest that the coastal storm projected to come close to New England will pass out to sea east of New England on Thursday.  Based on the latest runs, we in southern New England could feel some fringe effects, such as clouds, wind, and possibly lighter snow.  If we see these effects, they would start by mid-morning and last into the evening Thursday.  Highs will be in the 20s and lower 30s, but a gusty northwest wind will develop especially during the afternoon as the storm intensifies offshore.

This storm will be big, and it will be dynamic.  The forecast up to this point is almost mere speculation.  If this storm happens to track closer, it would potentially be a big snowstorm.


Another blast of arctic air will arrive Thursday night, Friday, and Saturday.  The mercury will dip into the single digits Thursday and Friday nights and highs on Friday and Saturday will be in the teens even with full sunshine.  Wind chills will drop well below zero once again.  A northwest wind could gust to 40 mph.


A storm will begin its approach from the Great Lakes Sunday, spreading more clouds into the sky by afternoon.  As it looks now, the associated snow will hold off reaching New England until Monday.


The last time the temperature remained BELOW freezing for a week or more was in February of 2014.  That deep freeze lasted 9 days.  The longest deep freeze on record lasted 19 days and that was in December 1989!  That was the coldest December on record with an average temperature of 18.1 degrees!

It is also interesting to note there was a stretch of 10 consecutive days from January 19th through January 28th in 1961 when the high temperature was 20 degrees or lower in Windsor Locks.  There was also a 7 day stretch from December 29, 1917 to January 4, 1918 where the high temperature remained BELOW 20 degrees in the Greater Hartford Area.

Our current deep freeze began in the late afternoon on Christmas Day.  The temperature has now remained below freezing for 4 full days.  If our current forecast holds true, the deep freeze will last 11 days, perhaps even longer!

Meteorologist Mike Cameron

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