Matthew Belk, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, said yesterday’s high winds were the result of a powerful cold front that moved across the region in the morning.
As a result, temperatures which began in the 50s early yesterday morning plummeted to more January-like numbers by day’s end. Strong wind gusts are expected to linger well into this afternoon, Belk added.
Charles Reynolds, who is organizing the Winter Carnival in West Newbury, believes the weather is actually playing in the event’s favor. The recent warmup and rain created a smooth surface of pond that he estimates to be about 6 to 8 inches thick.
Reynolds said a couple days of freezing temperatures and the potential for some light snow on Sunday should make for perfect conditions for the event, which had to be canceled the past two years due to the weather. Last year, it just wasn’t cold enough. In 2011, there was simply too much snow to utilize the pond and area surrounding it.
The annual town event includes ice skating, sledding and plenty of other ice-related activities and fun games. The West Newbury Fire Department will hold an ice rescue demonstration at 10:30 a.m. and will be available to answer questions about their ice safety and rescue equipment. All activities are free.
In Newburyport, however, the unpredictable weather pattern now has organizers of the city’s Winter Carnival looking ahead to next weekend.
The same schedule of activities will remain in play for next weekend’s event, which will go from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. If the Frog Pond succeeds in freezing, one of the main attractions of the day will be the Human Dog Sled Race. The Newburyport Mothers Club will host children’s games and snowshoeing demonstrations will be offered by outdoor gear retailer REI. Horse-drawn hayrides will be provided by Colby Farm, and free cookies and cocoa will be served.