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Long Island weather: Below-normal temps before weekend warmup

Expect a cold day Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018,

Expect a cold day Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, "as temperatures struggle to reach the freezing mark," the National Weather Service said in its regional summary. Credit: News 12 Long Island

It’s little wonder that Long Islanders may be feeling like spectators of January’s weather pingpong.

After four days in the 50s and Wednesday’s mid-40s, we see a cool down to below-normal temperatures for Thursday and Friday, both of which are set to head up to the low to mid-30s, forecasters say.

Expect a cold day Thursday, “as temperatures struggle to reach the freezing mark,” the National Weather Service said in its regional summary. “Gusty winds will make it feel even colder.”

At just before noon, the temperature at Long Island MacArthur Airport was 29 degrees, feeling more like 15 with the wind chill.

Thursday’s overnight low is expected to dip to the midteens near daybreak Friday, the weather service said. After that “chilly start to the day,” temperatures head up to the mid 30s.

But, hang on for the weekend. That’s when temperatures turn mild again, with highs right around 50 degrees in the forecast, and Sunday bringing the likelihood of rain.

For this time of year, 38 degrees is considered the normal daily high at the airport, with 23 the average daily low, the weather service said.

And, can you guess what’s returning next week? A swing back to colder air, the weather service said.

Here’s how Rich Hoffman, a News 12 Long Island meteorologist, puts it: “Below normal through Friday — big warmup for weekend . . . and changes for next week,” including a chance for snow Monday and Tuesday.

As of day-end Wednesday, the average monthly temperature for January so far was registering 1 degree below normal.

That’s as the month started out with six of the first seven days coming in at 14 to 22 degrees below normal for average daily temperatures, according to weather service data.

A few days after that cold spell, we saw a three-day warmup with highs in the 50s, including 58 degrees on Jan. 12.

And no, there’s nothing abnormal about this ping, pong, ping.

We’re just in a progressive pattern that finds systems of troughs, meaning colder conditions, and ridges, meaning milder conditions, moving steadily across North America, said Tim Morrin, a weather service meteorologist in Upton. That’s opposed to a blocking pattern, in which one tends to settle in.

Think of the atmosphere as a river, he said, which sometimes flows along smoothly, and other times experiences logjams, meaning we “stay stuck with what we have.”

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