The brief -- but harsh -- cold snap felt here in the Bay area is finally beginning to come to an end.
The cold snap began Monday afternoon when a cold front swept through the area causing temperatures to drop through the day and into the evening. Lows reach the low 30s and upper 20s Monday night, then only topped out in the upper 40s Tuesday afternoon. That is nearly 25 degrees below the average high temperature of 70 and it set a record in Tampa on Tuesday for the lowest maximum high temperature of 49.
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The old record goes back over a century ago to 1892, when the high temperature was 50 degrees.
On Wednesday the piece of arctic air that slipped south from the core of the polar vortex will move back northward, taking the coldest air with it. Also, our winds are turning to the ENE today and tonight helping to raise overnight lows and daytime highs.
After reaching the upper 50s to low 60s today, a nice warm up by the way, lows will only dip to the low 50s tonight and warm to near 70 tomorrow. An ESE wind takes over tomorrow through Saturday and that will raise temperatures to near 80s degrees by Friday and into Saturday.
That's right, we will go from well below average temperatures to well above temperatures. Oh and did I mention the humidity? That too will make a come back over the next few days. It won't be oppressive, but it will be noticeable as the very dry air in place now erodes.
Rain chances will also begin to increase by Thursday, but the best chance for that arrives late Saturday into Sunday with the next front. Don't worry about that front, though. At this time it appears that our temperatures will only fall back to the low 70s behind it.
Long range models do suggest another possible shot of really cold air by Wednesday and Thursday of next week. In fact, they are now showing a pattern that could send brief, strong shots of cold air every week or so through the end of January.
This is a pattern that we will watch closely.