We have double trouble on the horizon between the coming system and a potentially major event early next week, but this brief forecast will focus on Wave #1, which will bring a mix of rain and snow to the state late tonight and into Saturday morning.
This one trended more aggressive in the last 48 hours, but overnight it has looked a lot more marginal to this forecaster. The overall setup is a weak low that begins to quickly intensify once it gets offshore. Because the low is so far to the south, normally, we wouldn't see much of anything.
However, in this case it looks like we will see a brief period of strong lift, which will bring rain changing to snow over the state. The main issue with this system is that it's warm. We don't have a good antecedent airmass now that we are approaching mid-March. It's a wintry pattern, but there is no widespread deep cold to be found. It gets harder, but certainly not impossible, to get significant snow.
Despite the pattern, we are marching toward spring.
UPDATED 9:56 AM: Our forecast snowmap is below. We're generally expecting a coating to a couple inches for most of the state, with elevated areas having the highest chance at picking up accumulating snow. In the western and northern portions of the state, where we're closer to the center of the system and have the strongest lift, we're looking at a widespread 3-6", with the highest totals likely coming in the elevated portions of Fairfield/New Haven/southern Litchfield county. -SA
East of the CT River & CT Shoreline: I am not expecting much east of the CT River and near the shoreline. A coating to 3" seems to be the right amount for this region. The valley will likely struggle to produce much accumulation, while elevated areas may be able to grab an inch or two of snow. Along the shoreline, even in SW CT, temperatures look too warm for significant snow.
Litchfield & Northern New Haven, Northern Fairfield County: This is the zone to watch. I am very concerned that temperatures will limit potential, but if it doesn't this is a significant snow event. Even here, things are likely to start out as rain, but the best lift looks to be a bullseye right over this region and into Upstate New York, with the heaviest snow falling during the early morning pre-dawn hours. A widespread 3-6" seems like the right amount for this region.
The timing on this one looks straightforward, though the guidance is a little split. Today is fine weather wise. While some showers are possible a little earlier, we don't see precipitation really start moving into the state until between 9-11pm. Virtually all the guidance has this starting out as rain statewide. As the evening progresses, the rain/snow line will begin to drop down from the NW hills into the rest of the state as heavier precipitation moves in and temperatures cool. The best chance of accumulating snow will be roughly between 11pm and 7am. As precipitation lightens up and the sun rises tomorrow morning, whatever precipitation remains likely flips back to a mix or rain except in the highest elevations. With the March sun angle accumulation on roads and sidewalks will be over.
Even if there is lingering precipitation, most of Saturday looks fine. By fine I mean unpleasant, but good enough for travel.
This one is pretty tricky, because if it gets a little colder it's a more widespread snowfall. That said, as it stands we expect a minor impact along the shoreline and in central/eastern CT, and a more moderate impact in western CT away from the shoreline. This is likely to be a more wet snow, and with the timing overnight, a plowable one in our 3-6" zone. Some spot may put up a 7" or 8" report but I don't feel confident enough to create a 4-8" zone.
That said, clearing snow should not be too difficult on the roads and sidewalks tomorrow as temperatures warm above freezing statewide.
This one moves out fairly quickly, and we turn all of our attention on next week...
As always, please like, share, and interact with us on our social media--on Facebook to share our discussions, and follow us on Twitter @southernctwx to retweet our posts. Hit the buttons below to join.
Thank you for reading SCW.