New Year's Day will be the coldest in nearly a century, and more cold records will fall.
Portland's January 1 record low of -12 degrees (set in 1957 and 1964) is in jeopardy; the record cold high of 13 degrees (set in 1957) should easily be broken.
The question we've been receiving over the last several days: Will the bitter cold and a storm line up at the same time? There was one opportunity over the weekend; it fizzled. The next opportunity (Thursday) looks more legitimate.
A storm will form over the ocean and it will become a big one in both size and strength.
The question is its track. You know the drill by now; outside of 3 days, the storm track can change by a hundred or more miles.
On the plot below, each "L" represents a projected location for the storm center Thursday night. Two things are important here: 1) They're all offshore, but more than half are close enough for accumulating snow. 2) They're all very strong with some below 950 mb; that's a really strong storm!
The track will come into focus over the 24 to 36 hours, at which point we'll be able to more confidently discuss snow totals and the timeline.
Snow won't be the only factor. It looks like this storm will have an impressive wind field, which can move into eastern Maine if the track is close.
At the moment, eastern and Downeast parts of the state have the highest risk for significant snow and wind, beginning Thursday morning and lasting through Thursday night. However, with cold air in place, all of the state has a decent chance of at least some accumulating (plowable) snow. More specific totals will be out Monday night or Tuesday morning.
After the storm pulls away, arctic air reloads and returns for next weekend. It could be record-breaking, again.
Stay warm and Happy New Year!
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