No ‘White Christmas’ appears to be in the cards, but it will be C-O-L-L-L-D; temperatures could drop 35 degrees in 12 hours
As the time-worn phrase goes, “If you don’t like New England weather, wait a minute… it will change” (often attributed to Mark Twain, who gave a dinner speech about New England weather on Dec. 23, 1876). One of the times when that quote springs to life happens to be this weekend, which will feature buckets of rain today in the greater Boston area, followed by a precipitous, rollercoaster-like drop of temperature that will bring frigid temperatures for Saturday’s Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on Sunday.
According to most forecasts, while temperatures are expected to be downright balmy today and tonight, into the high 50s and near 60, they will then plunge into the low 20s by Saturday morning, in a span of less than 12 hours. Accompanied by high and gusty winds, the unpredictable wind chill factor will make it seem like the low digits and close to zero degrees! A large storm system bringing heavy rain to Eastern Massachusetts and New England is predicted – a major storm affecting the entire East Coast, from the Canadian border in the north to the southern United States. A high wind warning is in effect for most of eastern Massachusetts from Friday morning to Saturday morning and a coastal flood watch through Friday afternoon.
Forecasters are saying the biggest concern with this storm is the wind though the worst of the rain is expected to be this morning, with downpours for the commute, and then more heavy rain through the midday. After the drenching rains, which are expected to dissipate by early evening, the warmer, high 50s temperatures will plummet rapidly. After 9:00 tonight and continuing into the early morning hours, the temperature is expected to drastically fall close to 40 degrees in 9-10 hours, to the low 20s and high teens.
Alas, while there will be frigid temperatures in the 20s and wind chills to the low single digits for both Christmas Eve Day tomorrow, Christmas Eve itself and then Christmas Day Sunday, no precipitation at all is forecast for the weekend after Friday, so a White Christmas for 2023 appears to be out of the question.
With much lower gasoline prices, over 113 million travelers expected to be hitting the roads this holiday season
According to the AAA, 112.7 million people are expected to travel at least 50 miles from home in the United States between today, December 23 and Monday, January 2. It comes as New England is experiencing some of the lowest gasoline prices since May 2021, while heavy rains and high winds might affect holiday travel across the state. According to the AAA, about 102 million people are expected to drive to their holiday destinations this year, up about 2 million motorists from the 2021 holiday season. The number of 2022 motorists is in line with 2018 levels but down from pre-pandemic 2019, when a record 108 million motorists drove to their holiday destinations.
“This year, travel time will be extended due to Christmas Day and New Year’s Day falling on Sundays,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of travel for AAA. “With hybrid work schedules, we are seeing more people take long weekends to travel because they can work remotely at their destination and be more flexible with the days they depart and return.”
Air travel is expected to rise by 14 percent to 7.2 million passengers this year from 2021. In 2019, 7.3 million passengers traveled by air. Travel by bus, rail and cruise ship is projected to rise by 23% to 3.6 million people this holiday season from last year. That’s almost 94% of 2019 travel volumes.
Statewide, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.41. Nationwide, the price is $3.104, down from $3.68 in November and $3.30 at the same time last year.