In a winter without a single significant all snow winter weather event, we find ourselves staring down another mixed event. Because of the timing and potential for heavy snow transitioning to a period of icing, I anticipate a higher impact than usual event. Let's dive in.
Overall, the forecast actually hasn't changed. I feel higher confidence in the evolution of this event. A system will pass to our west tomorrow and run into the colder air that is filtering in this evening. As that happens, we will see another low redevelop to our south.
As a result, we will start off statewide with a period of snow that may be heavy at times, but see mixing and even plain rain at the shore occur as the mid levels (and surface at the shore) warm above freezing late on Tuesday and into early Wednesday.
For inland areas, we will go from snow to sleet and perhaps a period of freezing rain. At the shoreline, I anticipate going from snow to mixed precipitation before a changeover to rain.
Snow/Ice Accumulation: Moderate
Although light snow will kick things off tomorrow, things will quickly pick up as moderate to perhaps heavy snow hits the state. Snowfall rates may be as high as 1 to even 2 inches per hour. Although it will be a brief thump of snow, it will accumulate quickly before transitioning over to mixed precipitation. Not a huge storm by any stretch, but certainly a moderate event for most given the snow and mixed bag of precipitation, even in southern Connecticut.
Snowfall Rates: Moderate
As I mentioned above, maximum snowfall rates could approach an inch an hour for most and perhaps two inches an hour for some isolated areas if banding favors you.
Wind doesn't look to be a big player here.
Power Outages: Low
Even with some icing possible, I don't think this is a big freezing rain event, which really would increase the threat of power outages. With wind not being a factor I am not anticipating significant power outages.
Snow will begin moving into the state between 10am and 1pm tomorrow. With the timing, I depart from SA and I think we do actually see a lot of cancellations tomorrow. I would actually recommend a closure rather than early dismissal for school districts, as most places are likely to be snowing and possibly snowing heavily after noon. The morning commute for work looks fine, but the evening will be an absolute mess, with moderate to heavy snow possible in most places with the possibility of moderate to heavy sleet and/or freezing rain beginning in parts of southern Connecticut. Even though this is not the largest storm we've ever seen, tomorrow looks like a day to stay inside.
Road Conditions: High
The combination of moderate to heavy frozen precipitation and the timing during the day, I expect a high impact on the roads. If you can say home, I think you should. Let the plow operators do their job so we can return to normal as early as possible on Wednesday.
Now for what could go wrong. Again, I feel higher confidence in this one, but if we trend colder, we would see more snow than sleet which would increase totals, especially in southern Connecticut and Northwest CT. On the other side, a quick changeover would cook much of the coast, continuing a winter of misery for snow lovers. Overall, both scenarios look less likely than what we've put forward. Please remember that sleet or freezing rain would mat down the snow pack and give you inaccurate final totals. Measure before the changeover and measure the sleet which officially counts as snow!
For those curious about the prospects for winter moving forward, I think we're still in the same spot we were before. Things continue to look active and relatively cold, but it remains to be seen whether we get a well timed block that can give us a classic snowstorm. In the meantime, what we've seen is likely going to be what we continue to get.
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