Pure arctic air is on the way for the weekend, and if you’re among those who aren’t looking forward to it, at least I can tell you it won’t last very long.

There are some (forgive the pun) cool things we can check out when it comes to the upcoming cold snap. The map below, as an example, shows the trajectory of the air arriving here on Sunday morning.  It’s basically coming directly from the North Pole.  The shorter trajectory from the north means the air is closer to the temperature it was went it started flowing south.

Air Flow Sunday 2-14-16

Air Flow Sunday 2-14-16

The record low temperature at the Portland Jetport for Valentine’s Day morning is 17 below zero, set in 2003.  When that record was reached, it had been 10 years since a record low temperature had been broken in February.  Now it’s been 13 years, and we likely won’t break any cold temperature records in 2016, either.

Top Cold Valentine's Day Mornings in Portland, Maine

Top Cold Valentine’s Day Mornings in Portland, Maine

Portland doesn’t break many low temperature records in a less cold world.  A warming climate and the urban heat island effect make it less likely the Jetport can put record lows in the books anymore.  There hasn’t been a record-breaking low temperature in December since 1989, and only 4 record lows this century in the January to March time period.

So how cold will it be this weekend?  We aren’t going to break the record, that’s for sure.  However, it will be one of the colder Valentine’s Days in southern Maine.  If Portland reaches 2 below zero it will put us among the top 10 coldest February 14ths in the record books.

Wind chill will be severe


It’s not just the actual temperatures which will be cold.  The wind will create apparent temperatures in the 15 to 30 below zero range, and I suspect wind chill advisories or even warnings may be issued.

Forecast wind chills for Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016.

Forecast wind chills for Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016.

Remember, this cold is also tough on pets.   Few dogs are kept outside in this part of the country, but it’s important to not keep them outside very long this weekend.  Foot pads of dogs are tough, but can get frostbite in extreme cold.

The cold last year went on and on all month with the coldest of the cold on February 24th, 2015 (see graph below). This time, temperatures will quickly moderate and will return to above seasonal averages by Tuesday. We will have one more very cold morning to start the work week, and it will be especially cold in the suburbs.  Areas like Fryeburg and Bridgton may end up a degree or two colder Monday morning than Sunday.

Temperatures Meteorological Winter 2015

Temperatures Meteorological Winter 2015

Final tips before the weekend cold: keep your gas tank full in the car, make sure all outdoor water is off, and if the kids want to go out, watch their noses and other extremities for frost bite – it can happen a short period of time.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.