As you have all seen the last few days, this winter storm has been very difficult to forecast in terms of its path and evolution. However, The models have begun to converge on a somewhat similar track. The storm looks a bit more delayed, with my expectation being that light snow begins a few hours later Wednesday morning, and snow ending by early Thursday morning. Statewide winter storm warnings have been issued by the NWS, winter doesn’t want to let go yet. In this discussion we will cover the track of the storm and how much snowfall you can expect to see in your area tomorrow.
With this system, the models had difficulty pinning down the exact track. All the models agree that the center of the low will pass south of the 40/70 benchmark. This would tend to keep most of the heavy precip bands to the southern portion of the state. Now comes the model disagreement…
What we know
Snow will start to fall in earnest across the coast late Wednesday morning, and will increase northward by noon. There is a chance for an initial wintry mix then changeover to snow for SE Connecticut. By mid-afternoon most of the state should see snowfall. The real heavy banding will look to slam the southernmost areas of the state, especially the southwest corner by late Wednesday evening. Snowfall rates of 1.0-1.5” per hour are to be expected within the bands, and by early Thursday morning the snow will move out of the state, as high pressure builds in behind. We expect widespread cancelations tomorrow.
What we don’t know
Models support widespread snowfall for Connecticut, but exact totals in a particular location depend on the placement of the heaviest snow bands, and the eventual track of the storm. Latest models show very strong frontogenesis forming over SW Connecticut, which would indicate a very intense band of snow forming over the state late Wednesday evening. With strong frontogenesis also comes strong subsidence, which could make for a “hit or miss” in terms of snowfall totals. The setup and positioning of the snow banding is definitely a factor that will affect local snowfall totals.
And last but not least, it’s March! Storms this late in the season do not behave the same as mid-season storms. Warmer surface temperatures and variable upper air dynamics will all play a role in this system. Because of all these variables, we decided to go with 6-12” along the SW and southern coast of the state, with the chance of locally higher amounts depending on the setup of the snow bands. 4-8” along the rest of the state, all depending on how far north the bands travel. And for the northernmost part, 3-6”. These numbers agree with QPF output, suggesting 1-1.25” across extreme southern Connecticut, and for the rest of the state 0.25-0.75”.
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