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Fire and ice: Red flag warnings, freeze watches issued for much of Massachusetts

Next Weather: WBZ Midday Update For May 17
Next Weather: WBZ Midday Update For May 17 03:24

By Terry Eliasen, WBZ-TV Meteorologist, Executive Weather Producer

Fire and Ice!

Rarely do we have to contend with such opposite extremes in our area but Wednesday is one of those days. Currently, we have both red flag warnings and freeze watches posted in many of the same areas.

WBZ-TV graphic CBS Boston

This is our third consecutive day with red flag warnings. Again, this is largely due to the continued dry and windy conditions. Relative humidity values are extremely low for this time of year.

With the dewpoints so low, this will allow the temperatures to drop off quickly Wednesday night. The key to how low we will go is the wind. The more it relaxes, the more effectively we will radiate heat to space and the lower temperatures will plunge. Currently, we feel as though the winds will decrease significantly after sunset, enabling much of the daytime heat to escape and the temperatures to fall towards the low dewpoint levels.

Here is our current forecast around the region. . . keep in mind that we typically bottom out in the early morning hours just before dawn.

This forecast would mean widespread frost and some areas actually getting a freeze (freeze is when temperatures drop below 32 degrees, frost can occur with temperatures slightly above 32).

I would urge anyone in southern New England with tender plants to cover them up or bring them inside Wednesday night (if possible), especially those living away from the coastline.

A frost/freeze isn't all that unusual this time of year, especially farther north and west, but given how mild it has been, it certainly could take out some plants that are already well along.

WBZ-TV graphic CBS Boston

Beyond that, we look ahead to the weekend. Looks like a split decision. Saturday will get progressively wetter with the heaviest rain coming in the afternoon and evening.

Sunday looks like the winner with sunshine returning and highs in the 70s.

WBZ-TV graphic CBS Boston

Sadly, it seems rain is likely at Gillette as well on Saturday night.

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