Post Mortems on the Storm: The precipitation amounts and overall storm track were modeled very well. What was not modeled well by many of the operational models was the warm push at around 700-800 Mb, which resulted in many areas experiencing long periods of sleet. Usually, when precipitation falls heavier, temperatures cool from the top down, and the entire column becomes supportive of snow. This time, when heavier precipitation fell, some areas changed to sleet and actually snowed more when precipitation was light. However, heavier precipitation did drop the surface temperature. This was a very unique situation. What it means is that there was a warm layer somewhere in the atmosphere, probably at the 700 mb level, but lower than that, it was still cold enough to support frozen precipitation and even cool the surface temperature. Anyway, in general model projections for the storm were worse in the short term than the long term, but perhaps because we are looking for more detail in the short term . All in all, models handled the evolution and saw the signal for a major winter storm from a long way out, which is really all you can ask for. Now, for the regularly-scheduled discussion:
Currently: 977 low centered right near KGON. This low will pull out and in its wake the steady precipitation will end, but gusty winds will remain.
Tonight: Generally cloudy skies, cold, and windy. A flurry is possible at any time, especially early. Low temperatures should be pretty uniform, due to the cloud cover, with lows in the upper teens to lower 20s.
Tomorrow: An upper level low will approach the area from the Northwest. This could trigger some snow showers and maybe even a few heavier squalls. The best chance for this will be in the afternoon. Winds will stay gusty to 40 MPH at times. Due to the cloud cover, temperatures will not rise very much. High temperatures will only be around 30 degrees. In general, widespread snow accumulations are not expected, but any areas that see heavier squalls could see a quick inch or two.
Tomorrow Night/Thursday: Much colder than normal temperatures will continue, but with overall improving weather conditions. There is a chance that a lake effect streamer could make it into the state and produce a quick snow shower. The most favored locations for this type of activity, as usual, will be the NW Hills. High temperatures will likely be in the 30-35 degree range on Thursday.
Long Term (the weekend and beyond): The main attention period for the weekend will be a system centered on Saturday. First, for Friday, clouds will increase ahead of the aforementioned system for Saturday. Temperatures on Friday will still be a little warmer than previous days, but still quite a bit below normal. Expect high temperatures on Friday to be within a few degrees of 35.
The next system to affect the region for Saturday is an Alberta Clipper-type system. Normally, these systems on their own do not produce a significant amount of precipitation, but can produce minor to occasionally moderate events. The key to whether or not this system produces significant precipitation in the state will be to how far south the Alberta Clipper can dig. If it digs far enough south, it can produce a coastal low, which would greatly enhance precipitation. Additionally, this would provide a strong Northeast wind flow which would likely keep the precipitation profile all snow if that were to happen. On the other hand, if the clipper does not dig south, precipitation would be much “sloppier”- likely starting as snow everywhere, and with a lack of a mechanism to keep cold air entrenched, probably changing to rain. Another concern is that there is deep snowpack over almost all of the state, and this aids in making temperatures colder at night and holding in the cold air better during the day. Therefore, there is also some concern that the rain could be freezing rain. Admittedly, I haven’t been paying too much attention to the weekend’s system. I am only one person and have had to dedicate all my time to today’s storm. I and the rest of the forecasters here at Southern Connecticut Weather will now be able to dedicate more attention to the potential weekend system, since the rest of the week will be relatively quiet.
Beyond that storm threat, temperatures will moderate slightly but still remain generally below normal. The pattern becomes a bit more unclear after that.
There could be a big-time winter storm threat in the March 23-25 time frame. Based on the nature of what I see in the pattern at that time, that time frame would favor inland areas, with a change to rain favored for other areas. However, that is so far out in time that it is not prudent to say anything other than there is increased likelihood of a storm in that time frame based off pattern teleconnections.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the weather that will affect the state during the coming week in graphical format. This map shows the precipitation from the upper level low, as well as the old coastal low moving away. You can see snow showers could fall basically anywhere in the state.