BOSTON (CBS) – “Like a lion, like a lamb?” March in Boston can have some big twists and turns. The first 48 hours of March 2021 will see some drastic changes.
It will feel like a spring lunchtime on Monday and then in the middle of winter until Tuesday morning when a breath of arctic air drifts into New England. There’s a chance Boston will have one of its largest 24-hour temperature swings in March, when a small piece of the polar vortex breaks off and heads our way on Tuesday. The good news is that this bitterly cold air doesn’t hang around for long. We’re recovering pretty quickly and getting back to almost 50 degrees by Wednesday. So if the rest of the month is anything like the start, it’ll be a roller coaster ride.
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A front system will bring sporadic to steady rain showers on Monday morning. There may be some areas where some wet snowflakes in the north and west mingle overnight, where temperatures are closer to freezing. Most of the area, however, remains in the 30s to 40s with only rain. Expect wet conditions with some ponds on the streets and puddles for Monday morning commutes. Rainfall ranges between 0.20 and 0.50 inches. Not soaked rain, but enough to keep the windshield wipers busy.
The showers will end from northwest to southeast into the afternoon and will linger on Cape Cod at last. The sky becomes partially clear before a strong Arctic front pushes through the area on Monday evening. This front can generate a few isolated snow showers or snow gusts from around 8 p.m. Monday to 3 a.m. Tuesday from north to south. Some of these fast-moving snow showers can quickly affect visibility and coat untreated surfaces, resulting in slippery conditions. After that the sky will be clear, but a sharp drop in temperature and strong and gusty winds can be expected.
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Strong northwest winds will increase early Monday evening and peak overnight by late Tuesday morning. Gusts of 45 to 55 miles per hour are possible, which can result in minor damage and isolated power outages. There is a wind advice for the entire state from 4 p.m. Monday and further until 1 p.m. Tuesday. These winds transport unusually cold air into the region and generate very cold wind chill values until Tuesday morning.
Monday highs are in the mid to upper 40s, with some spots reaching 50 degrees in the late morning and midday. On Monday evening, temperatures will drop into the 30s and continue to drop overnight. When you step outside on Tuesday it will be cold with single digit and youthful values on the coast. Note that morning wind chill levels are below zero. Despite Tuesday’s sunshine, it seems like afternoon conditions will be in the single digits and teens, with highs in their top 20s to low 30s. Temperatures will be 10 to 15 degrees below normal in early March.
A DAY OF COLD BLAST
One thing to keep in mind is that this shot of arctic air is going to be brief! Temperatures recover on Wednesdays into the 1940s with a slight cooling off until Friday through the weekend. Right now the weather looks relatively calm (more like a lamb) for the second half of the week … but there are some signs of an ocean storm developing over the weekend. We’re going to have to see how close it gets to have any effect.
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All in all, what can March bring to Boston? A whole lot of everything and everyone! The temperature has reached as high as 89 degrees and as low as -8! Usually temperatures start in your lower 40s and by the end of the month temperatures close to 50 degrees are more common. While we didn’t get any snowfall last March, Boston typically gets about 9 inches of snowfall for the month. The good news is that we’re jumping forward this month, with sunsets starting around 5:30 p.m. at the beginning of the month until just after 7:00 p.m. at the end.