It’s been a snowy period across Connecticut, and the fun doesn’t look like it will be stopping anytime soon, as we have another system on tap for the state tomorrow as an Alberta Clipper approaches the state. While snow amounts won’t rival what we’ve seen in the previous two systems, we’re still expecting several inches of snow for most of the state, and the timing will be just right to cause some travel impacts across the state tomorrow. Let’s jump in and start things off with our snowmap. We’re forecasting three to six inches of snow for most of the state with moderate to high confidence, and one to three inches of snow on the shoreline with low to moderate confidence.
This system presents itself as a classic Alberta Clipper, with a fast-moving wave of energy moving almost due east across the state. Initially, light snow moves into the state ahead of the system, then, as it hits the open ocean, some models try to show some coastal redevelopment and strengthening as the storm passes over our area. While the system won’t deepen in time to deliver a significant snowfall, some of the guidance suggests that we could see some enhanced banding for a short period depending on the eventual track and strength of the low. We’d need to see that come to fruition in order for the higher totals on the map to verify, but the clipper on its own should still be good for several inches.
Here is a high-level view of the system from the RGEM courtesy of Tropical Tidbits.
Where the guidance differs is the amount of QPF present and the temperatures along the immediate shoreline. As far as QPF goes, guidance has become more bullish on wetter amounts over the last couple of cycles, that said, the ceiling remains fairly low, with ensemble guidance from the GEFS and Euro only giving a ~20% chance of greater than a half inch of liquid. Generally, the models are in good agreement on totals ranging from about a third to a half an inch, with the Euro and GFS on the wetter end and the Canadian guidance on the drier end. That would generally translate to 3-5” at a standard 10:1 ratio, though max temps across the interior would suggest slightly higher ratios.
For temperatures, the guidance remains split, with the global models keeping temperatures colder than the mesoscale models. This is shown here when looking at max temperatures from the GFS and high-res NAM; the NAM warms areas along the entire shoreline above freezing, while the GFS is below freezing for all but far SE areas. Images courtesy of weathermodels.com.
All that considered, for areas north of the shoreline, we have a pretty good consensus on the forecast. I expect a widespread 3-5” of snow for most, though if heavier banding can develop, a few 6-7” totals wouldn’t shock me. On the shoreline, things get trickier. While I think heavier precipitation will win out over the warm air to keep things snow, accumulations may be a challenge in all but the heaviest rates, and if the bands of snow don’t materialize as expected for the shore, it will be a struggle to accumulate more than a slushy inch or two. In particular, coastal New London county could see mostly if not all rain under some of the warmer scenarios, though confidence in that is lower. F
or the purposes of the forecast, I’m going with a broadbrushed 1-3” on the shoreline, but areas to the west and north in this zone should expect closer to 3-4” and areas to the south and east an inch or two, if that. I thought about bringing the 3-6” zone down into coastal SWCT, but didn’t have quite enough confidence in precip totals to do that as most modeling tries to keep the best precip just north of the shoreline. Should we see things jog a hair south, I suspect I’ll bust there. For the rest of the state, I think 3-6” is a safe bet, with most falling in the 3-5” range and the 6-7” amounts being reserved for the best banding placement.
Storm Details and Impacts
Here’s what we’re thinking for each of the areas where we grade ourselves on.
I’m expecting 3-6” in the majority of the state, with 1-3” of mixed precipitation/wet snow on the shoreline. My zones for greatest bust potential are the NW and NE hills and the SW coast for a bust to the high side, and coastal New London county for a bust low. I’m pretty confident in the evolution for the 3-6” zone, but as I discussed above, there’s a lot more uncertainty in the southern portion of the state.
Snow should move into the state during the early morning, with fairly widespread snow by the start of the workday at the latest. Expect snow to stick around for most of the day, with the heaviest rates during the midday hours, before tapering off around nightfall. Any change to mixed precipitation or rain along the shoreline will happen during the afternoon hours, and there could be a final period of snow for those areas at the end of the system.
Winds are expected to remain light to moderate, with peak gusts of 15-25 MPH. That could be enough to cause some brief blowing snow, but won’t contribute to any power issues, which I expect to be minimal to non-existent.
While the overall snow totals won’t be all that exciting, the timing won’t be great for the roads, with snow falling during at least portions of both the morning and evening commutes. Roadways will remain passable, but expect slippery conditions and slow going, especially on the secondary and tertiary roads and in areas where better banding is occurring.
While the snow totals aren’t overwhelmingly impressive, the rates and timing combine to make this a moderate impact event for most of the state. It could be a low impact event along the shoreline if the warmer solutions verify.
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Thank you for reading SCW. Enjoy the snow!