As a forecaster, sometimes despite all the guidance, pattern recognition, and sleepless nights thinking about a forecast, there will be no moment of total clarity.
This is where many forecasters in Connecticut stand this morning. Including myself.
Blizzard watches are in effect for New York City and Long Island. Winter Storm Watches are in effect for areas of New York State and New Jersey. There are no advisories at this time for Connecticut.
This illustrates the uncertainty for the forecast here in Connecticut. As you know by now, Connecticut sits on a razors edge with regard to snow totals. There has been an incredible battle over the smallest of details, each time significantly impacting who gets what in the state.
The map that we are putting out is subject to change…a first call is not necessarily a final call…but this is our best estimate of what will happen for the state, and it is our goal to not have to change anything. Let us review the 3 scenarios from last night quickly. Our thoughts have not changed on the percentages.
Scenario 1: The Miss -- 40% chance of verification.
Scenario 2: The Brush -- 50% chance of verification.
Scenario 3: The Big Hit -- 10% chance of verification.
We still believe that the brush is the most likely scenario, with southern Connecticut being in the best spot for significant accumulating snow. Given how sharp the gradient is, there is a fair amount of potential for this part of the state to receive even more than this in isolated spots right now, and for any shift northward to increase the totals and overall impact in this area. As the location closest to the edge of the storm, southern Connecticut is most likely to get an event out of this storm, even if there are further shifts south.
Central and northern Connecticut—2-5”
For inland Connecticut, you are stuck in the middle. This is a more difficult forecast zone, but we have a fair amount of confidence that you will see snow and that in most places it will be a plowable event. If you look at the snowfall totals, do not lock onto the higher end too much. The way I see it, most will end up in the middle (3"), some will end up at the extremes of the range, and few, if any, will end up outside the range.
Far northern Connecticut is where the real potential for a nonevent lies at this time, especially in the northwest corner. Any tick south would effectively take northern Connecticut closer to zero. This has been the “consensus” with the last few important model runs. Guidance aside, the amount of precipitation that looks to make it that far north is low at best right now, and on the edges of these storms you have to worry about dry air effectively eating whatever may be trying to fall (virga). If I am a snow lover or plow operator in northern Connecticut, I am sweating this morning. Keep in mind though, that a shift north would put northern Connecticut in a much better position for at least a light event.
Right now, the timing for snowfall looks to be very early Saturday morning (pre-sunrise) and lasting through the day and possibly into early Sunday. This is subject to change depending on how far north the precipitation shield gets, but I do not think the window of onset and ending will change too much. This looks to be squarely a weekend event right now.
- A significant storm is likely along the eastern seaboard this weekend. It is increasingly likely that Connecticut will be on the northern edge.
- Small shifts will make a substantial difference on sensible weather, especially along the coastline.
- Coastal flooding and windy conditions are possible. Remember that blizzard warnings are just to our south in New York City and Long Island. A closer approach of heavier precipitation could bring a much higher impact to the state--especially the shoreline.
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