The Arctic chill has arrived. Temperatures across the state are stuck in the teens, and wind chills are in the single digits below zero statewide in the middle of the day! Temperatures will continue to drop as the day goes on.
Record threatening cold is rushing in as a lobe of the fabled Polar Vortex cycles down to visit our region.
At the surface, the result is an exceptionally cold Saturday and Sunday.
What I can’t show you however is the European model, which is significantly colder tonight and tomorrow morning—on the order of -10 to -15 degrees! Even Groton verbatim would be around -14!
I lean toward the Euro being right, but I think this is likely overdone. As such we cannot rule out temperatures being even colder than currently projected, especially if there are periods where the wind dies down, allowing for better radiational cooling.
Again, the cold is the story of the weekend. For this reason Wind Chill Warnings are up for the entire state. Take precautions if you need to be outside.
- Cover all exposed skin
- Dress in layers
- Bring your pets inside
- Be careful when using space heaters
- Check on elderly neighbors
- Limit your time outside—especially if you are not dressed appropriately
We’ve received a lot of questions from folks about the potential of a storm on Monday and Tuesday. Here is our first look at that storm system.
- A major winter storm looks unlikely
- The storm begins later Monday afternoon and evening with a period of snow that quickly transitions to mixed precipitation and then plain rain overnight and early Tuesday morning
- Rain will be heavy at times on Tuesday
- Areas with elevation and especially in the northwest corner could hang onto mixed precipitation longer, but everyone likely transitions to rain
- strong winds are possible
- Statewide accumulations look non-existent to low at this time--perhaps a coating to 2 inches (most northwest) and minor icing northwest. This could be bumped down to zero or bumped up a couple of inches but the overall theme of this not being a major event statewide is likely to remain
In the larger scheme of things, we don’t have the blocking that would allow for the storm to take a more ideal track up the coast instead of inland. The story of the winter of 2016 in the east has, in large part, been timing differences and missing pieces that would allow for more impactful winter weather events. That happens every year--you cannot produce with every opportunity you have--but it seems to be on full display this year with multiple strong storms just missing. Good news for those that dislike snow!
This is merely one run of one model, and I haven’t been in love with how well the GFS has performed over the course of the last few weeks, but this simulation is essentially what other reliable guidance shows at the synoptic (large) scale.
On Sunday, high pressure systems are located over New England and the Mid-Atlantic. This helps funnel down and lock in cold air. As the northern energy swoops down and develops into a formidable storm on Monday and Tuesday, note how the high pressure systems retreat to the east quickly.
The cold air in place at the surface allows for snow to fall initially as warm air overruns the colder air at the surface, but that air is rapidly scoured away as the high off shore and the low passing to our west drive warm winds into the region. It is a combination that almost guarantees rain and a lot of it after a relatively minor period of snow/mixed precipitation.
I say this with the usual caveat about elevation and areas in northwest CT. This is where you usually do a bit better in holding onto cold air. This could be the case here as well. In addition, with exceptionally cold temperatures before hand, some surfaces may also be slow to warm, allowing for a little bit of icing even if rain is falling. I’m thinking of places that usually cool down and ice quickly (sidewalks, steps, bridges and overpasses possibly) so keep that in mind.
Overall however, it is just not a favorable setup for a major winter storm in the I-95 region.
By Wednesday, the storm has departed, and we are watching a trailing low that may try to push through the region. You see it bring a period of light rain and snow on the GFS, but the Euro does not have the wave making much progress to New England. It is a low confidence deal at this point, but something worth watching.
Thursday and Friday look relatively tranquil and seasonably cold. The warm up that was projected on the models earlier this week has faded a bit, but we’ll see if it ends up trending warmer over the next few days.
By Saturday, the Euro has another system approaching from the west which could bring rain and/or snow, but although other guidance has some lukewarm support, we are far enough out to not worry about it.
Saturday: Temperatures and wind chills continue to drop today and tonight. Blustery winds and slight chance of snow showers. Lows -5 to -10 with wind chills -15 to -35. Chance of snow 10%.
Sunday: Sunny and cold. Breezy. Highs around 10-15. Wind chills remain below zero for many. Nighttime lows +5 to -5.
Monday: Cold with increasing clouds, during the morning and afternoon. Snow begins by late afternoon/evening, transitioning to a wintry mix overnight. Daytime highs mid to upper 20s, warming quickly toward midnight. Chance of snow 60%, chance of mixed precipitation 90%.
Tuesday: Wintry mix quickly changing to rain across the state during the early morning hours. Then rain, heavy at times. Highs in the mid to upper 40s. Chance of rain 100%.
Wednesday: A chance of rain and snow, otherwise, cloudy, with highs in the mid 30s to low 40s. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Thursday: Partly cloudy, with highs in the upper 20s to low 30s.
Friday: Partly cloudy, with highs in the lower to mid 30s.
Saturday: A chance of rain and snow, otherwise cloudy. Highs in the upper 30s to id 40s. Chance of precipitation 20%.
Thank you for reading! Given how busy the pattern is, I am pushing the next two week outlook until things quiet down a bit.