The temperature trampoline promises more bounces for the Berkshires after a frosty start to the week. Much like the Christmas rainstorm, another unusual system for this time of year is heading our way just in time for New Year’s Day, with highs near 50.
It won’t be as impactful as last week’s very unseasonable, prolonged rainfall that yielded an inch and a half, wiping out what was left of the snowpack from mid-month. Thursday’s predawn high of 61 tied the record for Dec. 25 set in 2015 at Pittsfield Municipal Airport. Winds gusted as high as 47 miles per hour, but power outages were limited.
Despite flood watches and warnings, rivers and streams were able to handle the rain as it fell not in torrents but at a light to moderate clip over 30 hours. Only the Hoosic River in Williamstown approached flood stage briefly on Friday night. With the ground as well as lakes and ponds not yet frozen, the rainfall was easily absorbed.
Other than some stray flurries at times, no major snowstorms are expected this week. Monday starts off with a high well up in the 40s with afternoon sunshine and strong southerly breezes, followed by a moderate cool-down at night. A colder, blustery Tuesday with possible snow showers will be typical for late December, accompanied by a bundle-up wind chill.
Heading into New Year’s Eve, forecasters are keeping an eye on a complex storm setup with a surge of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico transporting a warm, humid airmass into the area. The result should be a rainy and mild Thursday, followed by a somewhat uncertain holiday outlook, featuring a wintry mix of rain, sleet or snow before clearing for the first weekend of 2021.
Nationally, the week begins with a typically wintry pattern over the central Rockies where more than two feet of snow is expected, and over the Sierra Nevada mountains with 12 to 18 inches predicted. In the Midwest, parts of Wisconsin and Michigan could see 4 to 8 inches of snow by Tuesday.
Starting on Wednesday, there’s heavy snow and ice threat from the central Plains to the Midwest and Great Lakes region, with torrential rain soaking much of the South and the East. Several storm systems from the Pacific will affect Washington, Oregon and northern California.
The long-range forecast through Jan. 10 indicates more above-normal temperatures for the Northeast, with average precipitation, probably more rain than snow, given the likelihood of above-freezing temperatures much of the time.