After a seasonably chilly, but beautiful day, tomorrow is poised to be an even nicer day as we move toward the end of meteorological winter and the beginning of March.
Although we are experiencing an early taste of spring, winter is not over! Additional chances for wintry precipitation are likely to remain through the middle of the month. In this discussion, I look at the week ahead, the month that’s been, and will try to give you a sense of the large scale pattern through the middle of March.
Pick of the week? Morning clouds should gradually give way to partly sunny skies as a backdoor cold front lifts north. Should it clear the state, with a southwest flow temperatures will climb into the 50s. Guidance isn’t as bullish on temperatures, but I think it will be a nice day overall. It will be breezy, especially near the shore.
Unlike the day before, Monday brings the chance of showers as a storm system passes well to our north and a cold front clears the state. It looks to be another day in the 50s. Any rain that falls during the morning and afternoon it should clear the state by the evening hours. Breezy conditions continue.
Most of Tuesday looks decent, with increasing clouds over the course of the day as our next storm system approaches from the west. A cold front will setup somewhere in New England, and there will be a pretty sharp temperature gradient. We will need to watch where the front ends up, but my money is on the front being north of the state, resulting in mild temperatures for the third straight day.
Wednesday gets active again. A storm system will approach from the southwest. Guidance has been consistent on showing an inland track that is less than ideal for wintry precipitation. It is something worth casually watching, though. Odds are that this is an all rain event, and I don’t see much reason that will change over the next few days. It is interesting to note however, that the GFS earlier today did bring period of icing to northwest Connecticut on Wednesday morning. Again, worth watching, but I tend to think that the euro has the evolution more or less correct and that a storm to our west will not be able to produce a significant winter weather event.
Thursday is our period of interest. With the prior system exiting, colder air comes in on the backside. This is key, as there are indications that a coastal storm may try to develop and approach from the south. Unlike the Wednesday event, this is a much more favorable track for a winter weather event, but currently it looks like a scrape to or miss. Given how far away we are, this bears watching. The euro is a bit slower with the progression of the coastal storm, but has a relatively similar idea as the GFS. The ensembles, which should be taken more seriously than the operational runs right now, are split on the evolution during this period.
Depending on the timing of the prior system, we are cleared out and back to seasonably cold conditions by Saturday.
Sunday: Mostly cloudy early with clearing during the day. Highs in the lower to mid 50s.
Monday: Rain showers during the morning and early afternoon, with clearing by evening. Highs in the low to mid 50s. Chance of precipitation 50%.
Tuesday: Partly cloudy with increasing clouds and showers by evening. Highs in the low to mid 50s. Chance of precipitation 50%.
Wednesday: Rain most of the day. Highs in the upper 40s to low 50s. Chance of precipitation 60%.
Thursday: SCW period of interest. Much colder. Highs near 40. Chance of wintry precipitation 20%.
Friday: Sunny and cold. Highs in the low to mid 30s.
Saturday: Sunny and seasonably cool. Highs in the upper 30s to low 40s.
Long Range Outlook
I have to admit, I am looking toward spring at this point. February has been an interesting month, and this has been a season of oddities in this Super Nino. Between a meager subtropical jet, conditions that have allowed southwest CT to receive far more snow than climatologically favored areas in the state, and persistently warm temperatures, the winter of 2015-16 has been a challenging one for forecasters and snow lovers alike.
It is at this point in the year where two fundamental truths must be stated:
The annual march toward spring has begun.
March is a transition month.
March is a month in which Connecticut can definitively break toward spring, or it can be a month where winter fiercely holds on. Most of the time however, we rapidly move toward a warmer regime where it becomes harder for sustained wintry weather and temperatures.
March 1 Average High—42
March 1 Average Low—24
March 31 Average High—54
March 31 Average Low—33
March 1 Average High—43
March 1 Average Low—28
March 31 Average High—52
March 31 Average Low—36
In the long term, I see more of a roller coaster ride, with no definitive indications of extended wintry or spring like conditions. I see a few chances for wintry precipitation, as well as periods were we are above normal temperature wise. You can see this evolution in the 500mb GEFS plot posted below. Overall, there is no reason to call for colder than normal temperatures on balance during the first half of March.