1st Weekend of 2018: Dangerous Cold & Wind - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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1st Weekend of 2018: Dangerous Cold & Wind

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*** A WIND CHILL WARNING is in effect for Litchfield County until 7am Sunday***

***A WIND CHILL ADVISORY is in effect for the rest of the state, through Sunday morning***


In the wake of yesterday's storm, many communities received 8 to 16 inches of snow.  At the official climate reporting stations in CT, record snowfall was recorded.  For the Hartford Area, a 95 year old record fell with 10.2" of snow (previously: 8.1"); at Bridgeport, the prior record of 5.3" (1988) was also well surpassed with 8.0" of snow yesterday. 

We are storm-free now, through early next week.  High temperatures for today have already been achieved, back in the pre-dawn hours.  Despite sunshine, we'll spend the afternoon in the single digits and teens with a sub-zero wind chill!  Our forecast for the first weekend of January is on track:  cold and windy!  By daybreak Saturday, wind chill values could go 20 to 30 below zero.  Tomorrow, we'll only see high temperatures in the single digits in many towns with the wind chill remaining below zero all day.  Sunday morning, we are expecting record cold... the existing records are 1 for the Hartford Area (from 1912) and 7 for Bridgeport (from 1988).  We are forecasting lows from 5 to 10 below zero!  Over the course of the weekend, new records will also likely be achieved for 'coldest high' temperatures.  

Meteorologist Mark Dixon 



Today will be partly to mostly sunny, but windy and bitterly cold.  The northwest wind will gust to 40 mph and wind chills will remain below zero throughout the day.  On the thermometer, highs will range from the single digits in the Litchfield Hills to the low and middle teens elsewhere.

The mercury will drop below zero tonight, anywhere from 0 to -10.  The wind chill will drop to -10 to -30 by tomorrow morning.  This is dangerously cold weather!  Although the sun will shine brightly tomorrow, the temperatures will struggle to reach 10 degrees.  Highs will generally range from the single digits in the Litchfield Hills to the lower teens near the I-95 corridor.


Sunday morning will be very cold, but the wind will be lighter by then.  Early morning temperatures will likely range from -5 to -20 on the thermometer.  Sunday afternoon will be better with mostly sunny skies and highs 15-20.


Monday will be milder for a change!  Temperatures will rise above freezing, reaching the mid to upper 30s!   The sky will become mostly cloudy and there may be some rain or snow showers in the afternoon and evening.  There could be a period of mixed precipitation or light snow Monday night.

The sky will become partly sunny Tuesday and a gusty northwest wind will develop.  However, temperatures should reach the upper 30s and lower 40s before they begin to drop.off during the afternoon.

Wednesday will mostly sunny with highs in the 30s.  By Thursday, highs in the 40s are expected!  We could actually string together 4 consecutive days with highs above freezing.


It was the deep freeze during the last week of the month that really lowered the average temperature to levels far below normal.  The average temperature at Bradley International Airport was 27.5 degrees, which is 4.1 degrees below normal!  Total precipitation was 2.41”, which is 1.03” below normal.  This includes rain plus the water equivalent of snow and ice.  However, snowfall was above normal by 2.4”.  The grand total was 9.8”.  The snowiest December on record was in 1945, when 45.3” of snow was measured in Hartford.


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 more 10 days.  If our current forecast holds true, the deep freeze will last nearly 2 weeks.

Chief Meteorologist  Bruce DePrest with Scot Haney

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