Record warmth to depart as quickly as it arrived
CAPITAL REGION Warm air flowed into the region Wednesday in front of a windy cold front, setting a record high for Jan. 30 — 56 degrees at 4:36 p.m.
The previous record was 54 degrees, set in 1974, according to the National Weather Service in Albany.
By this morning, though, the temperatures will have dropped into low 40s, with increasing wind gusts after heavy overnight rain and isolated thunderstorms, said Ian Lee, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
A high wind warning is in effect through 6 p.m. today, with gusts as high as 60 mph possible. Sustained winds in the 40 to 50 mph range can break tree limbs, pulling down utility lines and causing power outages, according to the weather experts.
Some ski areas canceled skiing Wednesday night because of the weather conditions. The Jiminy Peak ski center in Hancock, Mass., closed at 4 p.m. Wednesday but expects to be open for skiing today.
Maple Ski Ridge in Rotterdam expects to be open today but is monitoring weather conditions, said Kate Michener, a marketing manager. She said the bitter cold weather over the past week allowed the ski area to make snow day and night, building a deep base that a day of rain wouldn’t diminish.
“We have every intention of reopening,” Michener said Wednesday. “If it rains, we will still ski. We have a base out here to see us through March.”
At West Mountain Ski Center in Queensbury, skiing continued Wednesday night, and the mountain will reopen today, said Paige Sidler, a marketing assistant. West Mountain also did significant snow-making during the weeklong cold snap, opening another entire trail area for the season, she said.
Willard Mountain in Greenwich, Washington County, was closed Wednesday but expects to reopen today.
Wednesday’s warm weather came surging in from the south in front of a low pressure system bringing cold air from the Great Lakes, the National Weather Service’s Lee said. By tonight, though, the temperature will drop into the 20s with a 30 percent chance of snow and continued windy conditions with gusts up to 40 mph.
“There is a cold front coming from the west,” he said.
Between 1 and 2 inches of rain was expected overnight, turning into lighter showers this morning. The weather service issued a flood watch for the entire region because of the rain and melting snow.
“Even after the cold front passes through, there will still be winds all day long Thursday,” Lee said.
An Alberta clipper system out of Canada is expected to reach the region by late Friday, dropping temperatures into the teens and bringing some snow. Nighttime temperatures over the weekend will be in the teens and low 20s , with daytime highs only in the lower 30s.