Winter will end eventually, but right now we're in the midst of one epic last stand. Our fourth significant winter storm in just a few weeks is looking more likely this evening, and we are making a relatively bullish first call. Winter storm watches cover the entire state, and will likely be converted to warnings late tonight or at some point tomorrow.
We expect this event to be a fast moving system that is a moderate impact event for most and high impact event for those with the best banding over them.
A series of lows will develop in the south and Mid-Atlantic over the next 24-48 hours. The first low, as mentioned yesterday, will pass to our south. The one we're focused on is wave two, which will develop off the Mid-Atlantic coast, deepen rapidly, and begin moving northeast towards our region.
Over the last few days, some of the guidance kept this low further south, but a strong trend has brought it closer and closer to our region. In fact, today's runs have brought it near the famous benchmark track, which is often a classic location for a significant snowfall in Connecticut.
As a result of this trend, the National Weather Service has enough confidence to issue statewide watches.
We expect a moderate to high impact snow accumulation event. On the graphic, we have it listed as moderate because I do not currently expect most of the state to reach the upper end of our snowfall forecast.
First, we have to consider banding, which will determine who gets the most. I think the place most likely to see banding is Litchfield County. Second, I think we will see a warm nose in the column for a while in SE CT. That will cause mixing with sleet and could cut down on accumulations slightly.
That can be adjusted if necessary tomorrow if we see guidance tick colder or 700/800mb features trend in another direction with regard to the best banding.
As for snowfall rates, I think it's a fine call right now to say that we could see some rates reaching 1" an hour, which will be difficult for road crews to keep up with.
Although we should see some gusty conditions, I do not expect particularly high winds in Connecticut during the storm. As such, I lowered the predicted impact of wind. However, I left the impact of power outages at moderate, as we could see some heavier wet snow, especially during the onset of the event, which could cause problems. Overall I expect isolated to scattered power outages.
Timing & Road Conditions
Timing looks to be high impact. Tomorrow should be fine throughout the day, but we should see increasing clouds as we head into the evening. Light snow is expected to break out from southwest to northeast during the overnight hours with the more significant snow beginning by mid-morning.
Now, I think we all remember a recent storm where things did not pick up until later in the afternoon. Here, I think we're also looking at the afternoon being the time for the most significant snow. We're going to watch this closely, but right now I think we see statewide cancelations rather than delays on Wednesday and some delays possible on Thursday.
As for road conditions, I think I'm torn. This late in the season I tend to believe that the higher sun angle could assist our road crews a bit. However, that is heavily rate dependent. That is not to say road conditions will not be bad. Give the road crews time to do their work.
In closing, this is a significant winter storm that will impact the state during Wednesday. I expect snow to begin early on Wednesday, with the worst conditions during the afternoon and early evening of Wednesday. Snow should taper off by early Thursday. Expect widespread cancelations, difficult road conditions, and isolated to scattered power outages.
Winter just doesn't want to let go.
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