Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire residents can expect unseasonably warm temperatures this weekend.
Bill Simpson, a National Weather Service forecaster based in Norton, Massachusetts, said the region could reach temperatures in the mid-60s Saturday and Sunday, possibly breaking local records. He said the record for Boston is 62 degrees on Saturday and 61 degrees on Sunday.
“What happens is the jet stream usually migrates to the south, which brings in cooler air from Canada That is very simplified,” he said, explaining why the average January temperature is usually so cold. “Basically, we are getting a return of wind flow from the south and warm air from the Gulf of Mexico.”
Simpson said the same period last year saw below average temperatures, with highs of 30 degrees on Jan. 11 and 29 degrees on Jan. 12.
Not so this year — and that means different things to different people.
Dennis Gauvin, marketing director and ski patrol officer at Ski Bradford in Haverhill, said the mountain is prepared for the warming temperatures.
“We made snow for the past 48 hours,” he said. “We are not shutting down. We actually opened additional trails. We went from five trails to nine.”
According to Gauvin, the warm weather does affect the ski area’s ability to make more snow since temperatures have to be below 28 degrees in order to create snow, but they currently have plenty of snow to sustain the mountain through the weekend and to allow visitors to take advantage of the mountain.
“We added 5 to 7 inches on top of what was already there,” he said. "That's 14 to 22 inches. It will definitely survive the temperatures and possible rain until next Thursday."
He added that all of Ski Bradford's usual programs will be available this weekend.
Ken Spilmen, who owns a seasonal food truck in Londonderry called B's Tacos, said that even though his business typically doesn't open until May, he loves when warm weather allows him to open the food truck early.
"If I had known a few days ago, I would seriously consider opening," he said. "I'm always ready to pull the trigger."
But Spilmen also noted that he was concerned about potentially high winds and rain over the weekend, both of which he said have negative impacts on food truck business.
"Warm weather is great, but not with the wind and the rain," he said.
The warm spell isn’t likely to last very long, according to Simpson. Temperatures are expected to return to more “wintery” numbers after the weekend.
“There will not necessarily be snow,” Simpson said, “but we are expecting a return of more seasonal weather patterns. We are going to be cooling off a bit over next week to averages in the low-to-mid 30s”
He emphasized that warm temperatures this early in the season is no indication of how the rest of the winter will pan out.
“In 2014 and 2015, we had a record-breaking winter,” Simpson said. “There was not a lot of snow fall at this point, but we had a record-breaking snow that year.”
Simpson said that over the course of Saturday and Sunday, about a quarter inch of rain is expected to fall.