BENNINGTON>> While temperatures last week hovered near the 50s and 60s, the final days of 2015 and the first few days of 2016 will feel more like winter, according to weather forcasters.
A mixture of rain, sleet and snow pelted Southern Vermont on Monday and Tuesday, marking the season's first winter weather event. By Tuesday afternoon, the "bulk" of the storm had begun lifting away to the north and east, explained Brian Montogmery, meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office in Albany.
"The next round of precipitation will move in starting late Wednesday afternoon and night with rain and, in higher elevations, rain mixing with snow," Montgomery said. Temperatures Wednesday are expected to hover around freezing with highs between 35 and 40.
Cold fronts will move through the region later this week and bring seasonably cold weather in time for the holiday weekend, Montgomery said.
"We're not talking about an Arctic blast, but weather that looks more like it should in January," he said.
Reports from both Bennington and Windham counties place the most recent snowfall between two and four inches, in addition to between one and two-tenths of an inch of ice, Montgomery said. Temperatures Tuesday were in the upper 20s and low 30s, and mid 30s in low elevations.
In higher elevations, such as Woodford and Searsburg on Route 9, freezing rain was a possibility for Tuesday night, Montgomery said.
Bennington had a low temperature Tuesday of 27 degrees just after midnight and a high of 37 degrees by midday, according to NWS information recorded at the William H. Morse State Airport.
Seasonably cold weather and snow flurries are expected for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, Montgomery said. Higher elevations could receive one to two inches of snow. Flurries will continue throughout the weekend.
The beginning of next week will start out dry and become increasingly mild. Temperatures are expected to climb into the 40s by next Tuesday and Wednesday, he said.
Scientists say last week's warm weather was caused by El Niño, unusually warm Pacific Ocean temperatures near the equator. The NWS stated in October that the event, one of the strongest on record, could exert a strong influence on weather this winter.
A high of 72 degrees was recorded at the Albany International Airport on Christmas Eve. The Dec. 24 reading smashed the previous record high of 57 degrees set in 1941 and was the highest December temperature recorded in Albany since the beginning of daily records in 1974.
In Bennington, December's average temperature was 41.2, compared to a "normal" average of 28.1 degrees, according to preliminary monthly climate data from the NWS. Fourteen days had temperatures 32 degrees or above.
The warmest day was Christmas Eve — a high of 70 degrees was recorded at the airport. The average temperature on Dec. 24 was 57 degrees, 33 degrees higher than the 30 year average for that date.
Monday, Dec. 27 took the award for coldest day with an average temperature of 27 degrees, a high of 32 degrees and a low of 21 degrees.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979