Happy Fake Spring! March 1st marks the start of meteorological Spring. You wouldn't know it, with winter suddenly deciding to show up (maybe).
This discussion will cover the coming winter storm for tomorrow. We will be back after this winter weather threat passes to discuss the other potential storm for Sunday/Monday.
An area of low pressure is taking shape in the south, and will deepen as it moves off the coast and toward New England. There is a significant amount of uncertainty on snowfall totals, as it is unclear how organized and how close the low will track to the area.
Winter Weather Advisories are up statewide.
As I mentioned at the top, we have an area of low pressure that is taking shape in the south. A few days ago, this looked like a system that would miss, but has gradually come back on the guidance.
However, in recent cycles, we've see a tick back southeast, which puts our state in the highest zone of uncertainty with regard to final snow amounts.
The progression however is pretty straight forward. We have a low that will move off the coast tonight, and will bring snow to the region during the overnight hours. Snow will be heavy at times, statewide, and while I do not expect this to be a predominantly mixed precipitation event anywhere, there is the chance for a brief period of mixing at the shore, especially if the low tracks further to the coast. Again, this is one of those rare times this winter where I think this is a virtually all snow event everywhere.
Below: latest surface analysis of the low (1014mb over TN and NC). Note the isobars sagging south through the Mid-Atlantic. That's a signal for surface cold air being in place there and further north. Here, we don't expect mid-level lows tracking overhead, which has been the source of mixing in other storms this season.
Snow should break out from SW to NE between 1-5am. It will likely become moderate to heavy at times, and those areas that stay in the banding will see the highest totals. Snow will taper off later in the morning, and light snow is possible through the afternoon.
As shown above in the map, this looks like a moderate to significant snowfall for most. The highest confidence in higher snow totals is in eastern CT, where snowfall is less dependent on storm track due to proximity to the best banding. In much of CT, we're on the line, a closer shift would bring higher end totals where a shift away from the coast could create our fourth consecutive snowfall disaster. In far NW CT, this seems like a light event. I think there will be some accumulation, but confidence in a plowable event is by far the lowest here.
Snowfall Rates: Moderate
Snowfall rates may approach 1" an hour at times, or even higher if we get good mid-level progression as hinted at by guidance like the European model. That's a nowcast event however. Overall, moderate to heavy snow seems like a good bet for at least a short period of time.
Below: 12z European model showing moderate snow at around 5am statewide.
This isn't a bombing or phased low, so we are not expecting high winds or power outages with this one. The only real risk of some isolated power outages is if SE CT sees significant amounts of paste like snow that comes down heavily.
One of the key positives about this system is that it is coming during the overnight and morning hours on a Saturday. As a result, there shouldn't be a huge economic or commuting impact.
Road Conditions: Moderate
With the potential for moderate to heavy snow, things are likely to get tricky on the roads statewide. This is especially true during the morning hours. Conditions should improve as snow tapers off, but roads will remain slick with cold air in place.
Overall this looks like a moderate event. Unfortunately, we're dealing with a higher amount of uncertainty than usual, but we think this is a good forecast. If you're locking in the highest amount in your zone, you'll probably end up disappointed. This is a storm that's going to require real-time analysis of banding.
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Thank you for reading and trusting SCW.