Flight Delays Due to Wind May Be a Big Problem in the Northeast on Wednesday

A cold front crossing New England on Tuesday, driven by modest energy aloft, will focus development of a storm center east of New England Tuesday evening and night.  This storm is expected to deepen (strengthen) rapidly as it pulls over the Scotian Slopes (just off the coast of Nova Scotia), and this quick intensification of the storm will result in a rapid southeast surge of air from Canada as a northwest wind accelerates around the backside of the storm.  The combination of cold air pouring into New England, and high pressure building toward the region from Lake Superior, will combine to encourage sinking air across New England on Wednesday.  That's a problem, because the air about 5000 to 6000 feet off the ground will be moving as fast as 65 knots, or 75 mph, and indications are that air from this altitude may mix all the way to the ground, meaning isolated gusts to at least 65 mph are technically possible Wednesday afternoon.  Even if we don't achieve such dramatic - and damaging - wind speeds in New England Wednesday afternoon, even a fraction of that wind would cause certain wind related delays at many Northeast Airports, including Portland, Manchester, Burlington, Boston, New York and Newark.  Unfortunately, this wind appears to last most of the day, though will be strongest between 10 AM and 5 PM.  If you're planning on flying into or out of one of these airports on Wednesday, it looks as though you should be prepared for delays on the order of a few hours for many flights, though it's impossible to know which flights would be most susceptible.

For folks not flying on Wednesday, expect windy and very blustery conditions, with highs struggling to break 40 as a New England average, and widespread wind chill values in the 30s, 20s north.  Some scattered damage to tree limbs and power lines is likely if these winds verify on Wednesday afternoon.


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