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Wild weather update: Frigid temperatures, damaging winds, Saturday snow

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Some of the coldest December this century is on the way to Connecticut in the next couple of days. Since 2000, the temperature has fallen below 10° in Bridgeport twice – on back to back days in 2004. Friday may be the third day to reach the single digits. The record low temperature in Bridgeport is 11° set in 1961. I’d say there’s a 50/50 chance it is tied or broken. In addition to the frigid weather, we’re expecting strong to possibly damaging winds Thursday night. 45-60 mph wind gusts are possible after midnight, with the best chance of 50-60 mph gusts in Eastern CT. Of course, winds that strong may lead to downed trees and power outages.

The temperature will be in the single digits in most of CT between 7-9 am on Friday. 20-40 mph winds will make it feel like -10° to -20°! It will reach the upper teens to low 20s by late Friday, and the wind will not be as strong.Snow to rain on Saturday

The cold air will set the stage for a quick accumulation of snow before a change to rain on Saturday. The burst of snow will likely stick to untreated pavement throughout the state, with more than an inch likely in most places. Several inches of snow may accumulate inland before any mix/rain gets involved.

As far as the timing goes…snow will break out between 2-5 am from west to east. A change to rain happens in the I-95 corridor around 7 am, with cold air hanging on inland. The wind will kick up to 20-40 mph near the Shoreline as the warmer air arrives early in the day. Rain may be heavy at times in the morning near the Shoreline. Snow mixes with or changes to rain inland by late in the morning. The temperature will rise into the 40s at the Shoreline and to near 40 inland by late in the day.

There will likely be a lull in the rain Saturday evening into early Sunday. That’s good news if you are heading out to a Christmas party or to do some shopping. Another round of rain is in the forecast for Sunday between mid-morning and mid-afternoon. It will be mild with temperatures in the 40s/50s. Sharply colder weather returns when the rain ends, and any slush or standing water will re-freeze Sunday evening.Christmas week outlook

The first few days of next week look dry and chilly. No precipitation is expected before late Wednesday. A storm system may bring rain showers on Thursday. It’s still early, but it does not look like there will be any snow between Friday and Sunday, and most of Connecticut may not see a white Christmas. That should come as no surprise since a big chunk of the state historically sees less than a 50/50 chance of a white Christmas.

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