The holidays are just around the corner and mother nature might be delivering a little present in the form of fluffy white snow for the Northeast! But this winter storm is no joke- and may have severe impacts on holiday travel, especially if you’re in Western Massachusetts or the Cape.
While the exact weather predictions are uncertain (classic New England) it seems at the moment that temperatures may be too warm in Boston for snow or ice to develop during the storm that is expected to hit the evening of Thursday, December, 22. The powerful storm will travel from the Midwest to New England on Thursday evening into Friday, ahead of the holiday weekend.
Heavy snow and strong winds are predicted for the Midwest due to a cold front in their region. The Boston area is forecast to experience heavy rain and winds Thursday into Friday night, with potential Massachusetts snowfall in regions of higher elevation like the Berkshires and even Worcester.
What does the ‘Bomb Cyclone’ mean for Boston
This storm could gear up to be nothing more than heavy rain, but meteorologists are warning about poor travel conditions on Friday due to a potential phenomenon called a “bomb cyclone,” which historically hit Boston hard in 2018 and brought a lot of cold, snow and wind damage:
According to Kyle Pederson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Boston, a bomb cyclone occurs when a low-pressure system drops 24 millibars in 24 hours, or roughly one millibar (a measure of atmospheric pressure) an hour.
In non-scientific terms, this translates to a storm intensifying beyond expectations due to a sudden lapse in pressure. This means on Thursday and Friday we could see snow in Boston or at least torrential downpours causing tough driving conditions and cancelled flights out of Logan in addition to coastal flooding.
Logan Airport flight waivers and travel impacts
Wind gusts on I-95 could exceed 60 mph. Avoid travel Thursday night into Friday afternoon, if possible, to skip the storm. Due to this being Christmas weekend and many flights booked in advanced, United, Southwest and American Airlines announced they are issuing waivers for regions across the country impacted by the storm, including flights to and from Logan airport.
United Airlines waiver
Waivers apply to tickets purchased by December 18 with travel scheduled for anytime this week. All change fees and flight fare differences will be waived for flights departing on or Before December 28. However, tickets must be book for the same cabin and destination to qualify for the waiver.
Southwest Airlines waiver
For the Northeast, any travel scheduled between December 22 and 24 can be rescheduled within two weeks of your original travel date, as long as the cabin and destination remain the same.
American Airlines waiver
American airlines will also offer a waiver, similar to Southwest in which any travel between December 22 and 24 can be rescheduled with no additional fees incurred. These reschedule dates reflect when the storm is expected to hit the Northeast the hardest and most likely cause delayed and canceled flights.
Will Boston have a white Christmas?
Record snow depth for Boston on Christmas day was last seen in 1995 with nearly one foot of snow on the ground. Last Christmas Boston didn’t have a trace of snow, but western and Northern areas of Massachusetts like Concord managed to have a few inches last year.
This year for Boston there is only a 19% chance of waking up to a blanket of snow on Christmas morning according to recent weather reports. The last white Christmas Boston entertained was in 2009 with a marked 4 inches of snow.
“Christmas Eve, Christmas Day are looking very cold right now,” WCVB Meteorologist Mike Wankum said. The rest of the weekend will be dry but frigid with temperatures only reaching the low 30s. so a white Christmas is not in the books for Boston this year at the moment, but at least it’s predicted to be sunny!