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Snow is possible by the end of the week; strong cold front promises Arctic chill

The forecast is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

After a brief mild spell, a strong cold front is about to blast through the tri-state area, promising Arctic chill and the possibility of the season’s first snowfall.

The Arctic air will make its way across the area on Wednesday, and its icy grip won’t relax for much of December.

High pressure will build behind the front, so Thursday and Friday will be seasonably cold, with highs in the 40s and lows in the low- to mid-30s overnight.

As the cold blast digs in, a storm system will develop and run up the coast, offshore. Its track isn’t defined yet, but it’s too close for comfort.

We’re analyzing the latest computer guidance, and so far, a glancing blow is what we see. The center of the storm is expected to remain well offshore, but precipitation is forecast to reach west into the tri-state area Friday night into early Saturday.

Being offshore, there’s a higher chance for snow south and east of New York City, but the boroughs are not off the hook. As time gets closer to first flakes on Friday, the storm track will be more accurate from model guidance.

A track closer to shore means higher accumulations and a more westward reach into New Jersey for the snow. A storm track that’s more offshore means not much of the white stuff, if any, or it could just be confined to eastern Long Island.

Other factors include how much cold, dense, dry air is on the backside of the storm track, which could limit snow accumulations.

Numbers can’t be forecasted just yet, but could be as we get close to the storm’s passing.

This storm threat is a good example of what we may be facing for the month of December. A “lobe” of the polar vortex is consistently shown to bring down colder air for a good part of the nation, including for our area, for a couple of weeks.

It may try to lift occasionally, but the mild temps we’ve seen since the fall are not seen at all on the long range models. The colder air is here to stay.