Well, the calendar says Spring is supposed to start on Friday, but we’re looking at a very un spring-like forecast for the upcoming period, with consistently below normal temperatures expected throughout the period along with a round of snow for Friday and Friday evening.
Tomorrow looks to be clear and while still below normal, warmer than today was, with highs generally in the mid to upper 30s. Some wind gusts of up to 25 miles per hour are possible, but winds will not reach the potentially damaging levels that they did today and yesterday. All in all, a bit chilly, but definitely a pleasant day compared to our last few.
That pleasantry will be short lived however as a wave of precipitation from the northern flank of a coastal low exiting into the Atlantic off the southeast coast approaches our region from the SW late Thursday night and overspreads it Friday afternoon from SW to NE. There is fairly good consensus between the various models for a period of moderate snow from Friday afternoon into early Saturday morning from a combination of the initial overrunning wave and coastal redevelopment as the storm hits the Atlantic Friday evening. The afternoon rush would be impacted in this scenario, as would travel Friday evening.
The one outlier on the guidance is the NAM model, which keeps the confluence to our north much stronger than the other guidance and as a result brings only light and scattered precipitation to the state. Given that it is for the most part an outlier, we are essentially discounting it for the purposes of this forecast at this time, but raise it as a potential “red flag” in the forecast that could cause us to have to lower amounts if it in fact were correct.
Here’s a look at the various forecast models for this event.
One final potential wildcard to watch for is the possibility of some snow on Saturday from the redeveloped coastal low depending on how close it can track to the coast. As of now, only the ECMWF and to a lesser extent the GGEM have accumulating snows across the state on Saturday, but it’s worth keeping an eye on, especially in eastern areas as they will be closer to the low and hence closer to the center of the precipitation shield. Depending on how Saturday plays out, we may have to separate the zones by longitude as well as latitude, but for now will hold off due to lead time and low confidence.
As far as timing goes, snow moves in from west to east Friday morning, overspreading the area from mid-morning on and snowing across the state by early afternoon. The heaviest precipitation looks to be during the late afternoon and early evening hours of Friday, where for a time isolated areas of 1” per hour snow are possible, especially along the south coast. Snow begins to wind down after dark and should clear the state by very early Saturday morning, well before daybreak. There is a chance of some additional snow or rain on Saturday from the coastal system that forms to our east, but will not include any accumulations from that in the forecast for now.
Otherwise, expecting gradually clearing skies and slightly warmer temperatures on Saturday(Although temps will be heavily dependent on the eventual track of the coastal), with highs making it up into the 40s. Sunday will be right back into the freezer, however, with highs only in the upper 20s to lower 30s. An arctic cold shot then arrives for Sunday night into the start of the week, sending lows into the teens Monday morning, fifteen to twenty five degrees below normal!
We’ll have another update tomorrow evening with a revised map if needed and more detailed timeline and as always will be updating throughout the storm on Friday with radar grabs, rapid-fire forecasts, and your observations. Until then, thank you for reading SCW!