Gray, leaden skies along with a chill and blustery winds more typical of April than mid-June kept the Berkshires and southern Vermont in a gloomy weather spell Thursday with more rollercoaster temperatures to come over the next five days.
An unusual dip in the jet stream is funneling northern Canadian air into the Northeast, according to Weather.com meteorologist Ari Sarsalari.
The result: Pre-dawn lows in the upper 40s on Thursday following a night of gale-force wind gusts, peaking at 36 mph around 9 p.m. Wednesday as recorded by the National Weather Service at Pittsfield Municipal Airport.
The cold snap over western New England came in sharp contrast to an intense heat wave building up in the Midwest, Sarsalari noted.
While temperatures will ease up toward more typical levels this weekend, strong to severe thunderstorms are possible on Saturday as an upper-air disturbance moves through the region in the afternoon or evening. High winds will return and are likely to persist until Tuesday, forecasters predicted.
By Sunday, another cooldown will keep highs only in the 50s to low 60s over the area, with overnight lows again in the 40s, as much as 15 degrees below normal for this time of year. No significant improvement is expected until next Wednesday, said Vasil Koleci, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y.
While June is typically a transitional spring to summer month in the region, he acknowledged that the amount of cold air is abnormal and uncommon.
Still, the chill is a far cry from record-setting, since the coldest June 10 recorded at Pittsfield Municipal Airport was 36 in 1975, with a record of 35 for June 11 set in 1980.
Normal lows and highs for mid-June range from 52 to 74, based on 78 years of observations at the airport.
Contact Clarence Fanto at 413-637-2551.