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Friday, April 8, 2016

Cool But Mainly Dry Weekend

This weekend will be cool by April standards. But it could be a lot worse. A winter storm will just miss Connecticut, bringing accumulating snow to parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania Saturday. After some morning sun, clouds will take over by Saturday afternoon as the storm gets closer. There is a chance for a rain or snow shower in spots (especially in southern Connecticut). But I think most towns will stay dry. The sun will shine for the UConn Huskies parade and rally in Hartford on Sunday with temperatures in the mid-40s.

There is no BIG warm-up in sight. But at least temperatures will get closer to average heading into next week, along with some April Showers. Baby steps towards a return to spring weather!

Forecast Details: 

Tonight: Partly cloudy, quite cold. Low: 25-35.

Saturday: Partly cloudy, chance for a late day rain/snow shower. But it’s still too soon to say what impact (if any) from a nearby storm. High: Mid-upper 40s.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, chilly for April 10th. High: Mid-upper 40s.

Monday: Mostly cloudy, chance for a passing shower. High: Near 50.

Tuesday: Mild start with rain and wind. Some clearing in the afternoon. High: Low-mid 50s.

Wednesday: Partly sunny, brisk and cooler. High: 50s. Thursday: Mostly sunny. High: 50s.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Cooler heading into the weekend

A lingering shower is possible tonight with areas of drizzle and fog developing. But the wettest and worst of Thursday's weather is over.

Friday will not be as mild (upper 40s-near 50) with a mix of sun and clouds. While most of the day will be dry, there is a chance for a passing shower or two (maybe even a snow shower in the NW hills).

This weekend turns even cooler with highs in the 40s (chilly by April standards). A developing ocean storm looks to stay mainly south of the area. The location and intensity of the low will help determine what (if any) effect it has on our weather. There is a chance it misses entirely. If the storm tracks a little closer/stronger rain/snow showers are possible Saturday afternoon and evening. There could even be a period of snow Saturday night with minor accumulation. Right now I’m leaning towards little or no impact at this time. But I still don’t feel confident enough to lock that in. So please keep an eye on the forecast over the next day or so.

There is no BIG warm-up in sight. But at least temperatures will get closer to average heading into next week. We’ll take what we can get!

Forecast Details:

Tonight: Steady rain ending. Leftover shower, patchy fog and drizzle developing. Low: 38-43.

Friday: A mix of sun and clouds, chance for a shower or two. High: Upper 40s-Low 50s.

Saturday: Partly cloudy, chance for a late day rain/snow shower. But it's still too soon to say what impact (if any) from a nearby storm. High: Mid-upper 40s.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, chilly for April 10th. High: Mid 40s.

Monday: Mostly cloudy, chance for a passing shower. High: Near 50.

Tuesday: Mild start with rain developing. Windy. High: 55-60.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Brief Warm-Up With Rain

Thursday will be noticeably milder but the warm-up comes with rain. Showers will become more numerous through the morning with heavier downpours and thunder possible in the afternoon/early evening as a cold front approaches. A quick ¾” to 1 ½” of rain is possible. While rivers and streams should be low enough to accept that rain, minor flooding is possible for poor drainage areas and low lying areas.
After that brief warm-up, a late winter chill returns for the weekend with highs in the 40s.
Going along with that wintry theme, a few snow showers are possible late Saturday or Saturday night with a developing ocean storm. For now it looks like the storm misses to our south but we’ll need to monitor it the next few days in case that changes.

Wait a minute. What is that??? We may have spotted spring in the misty distant future. Next Tuesday temperatures could climb into the 60s. However, if a cold front arrives earlier in the day it may ruin our chances for a warm-up. So, we’re sayin’ there’s a chance!

Forecast Details:

Tonight: Cloudy with showers developing late. Low: mid-upper 30s. Temps rising towards daybreak.

Thursday: Scattered AM showers becoming more numerous in the afternoon. Chance for a thunderstorm late day/early evening. High: Mid-upper 50s.

Friday: Mostly cloudy, chance for a passing shower. High: Upper 40s-Low 50s.

Saturday: Partly cloudy, breezy and cool. Chance for a late day or evening snow shower. High: Low- mid 40s.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, chilly for April 10th. High: Low 40s.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

This Spring Storm Has Me On An Emotional Rollercoaster

This job can be incredibly humbling. Predicting what Mother Nature wants to do is never easy. Sometimes all the equipment and technology in the world can’t help us make sense of a complex set-up.  This is one of those situations.

There are several distinct disturbances that are all undergoing their own transformations while at the same time interacting with each other. Each computer model tries to determine the evolution with a different set of equations. But the outcomes for this storm have been wildly different.

Here’s what we’re thinking right now…

TIMING

The timing has been pushed back somewhat. Instead of snow breaking out in the afternoon as originally forecast, snow will hold off until between 8pm – midnight. Snow is expected to remain light for western and central Connecticut. But moderate snowfall is possible for eastern and southeastern Connecticut. The worst is over before 8 AM with lingering flurries into 10 AM Monday morning. Any snow that ends up accumulating should melt fairly quickly due to the warm ground and higher sun angle this time of year.

IMPACT

Roads could be slippery in spots overnight Sunday into Monday morning. We don’t anticipate any school closures at this time. But school delays are possible as DOT crews catch up, mainly in eastern CT.

SNOW TOTALS

Even though this is an early spring storm, the bulk of the snow will fall after sunset and overnight which will allow the snow to stick more readily than during the daytime.

We are expecting all snow and no mixing with this event. The highest amounts will be in southeastern Connecticut, closer to the storm’s location. The lowest amounts can be found in western Connecticut.  

Look at the left side for now! Haha.

Friday, March 18, 2016

It's On! Spring Snow But Not A Big Hit

Our official forecast is the first solution but there's a chance the storm moves even farther offshore. Only a smaller chance at more snow than this
We haven’t dodged the threat of snow this weekend. But it looks like we will avoid getting a monster nor’easter Sunday afternoon into early Monday morning.

While we were sleeping Thursday night the computer models made a huge shift east.  Sunday’s coastal storm will develop and strengthen too far offshore to bring a blockbuster spring storm. 

Timing:

All day Saturday and Sunday morning look dry.  Snow will develop in the afternoon, starting off light initially and then picking up in intensity later in the day and Sunday night. The roads will probably remain wet for a majority of the day.  Spring storms are tricky like that because of the higher sun angle and warm ground. It takes heavy snow to stick to the roads at this time of year.

Heavier snow is possible at night, continuing into the early morning Monday. As of right now I think snow will be over before 8 AM (maybe even earlier than that). Snow should be able to quickly melt away for the reasons I mentioned above.

How Much:

There is still a big spread in the computer models even right now as I type this (Friday at 7 PM).  But all outcomes point to more snow in the eastern part of the state. One scenario points to a light to moderate snowfall. The other has the storm strengthening even later and farther offshore resulting much less statewide including little to no snow in western Connecticut. I’m leaning towards the first scenario but either are possible at this point.

WHY the differences? There are several moving parts that the models are trying to “figure out”. Each one has a different idea of what those parts will do over time, resulting in different outcomes.

Precipitation Type:

There’s a slight chance some sleet could mix in for areas southeast of Hartford. But I think that would be an exception. I’m expecting wet snow with this storm, not the fluffy dry stuff.

Impact:

While winds will pick up during the storm, I do not expect damaging winds in this storm.  While there could be a few pockets of power outages due to the wet nature of the snow, I also do not see this as being a major concern right now.  Obviously, roads could get slippery though (that happens any time it snows), especially Sunday night into early Monday morning.

Bottom Line:

This is NOT a biggie! But remember, just last week many of us thought winter was over for good with record warmth several days in a row. This is a stark reminder that it can and will snow at times through early spring! Please check back in for updates over the weekend as we continue to put together pieces of the forecasting puzzle.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring Snow, A Good Bet!

The final days of winter have felt more like spring. But the first day of spring will feel more like winter. Today we have more confidence in telling you to mentally prepare for snow Sunday afternoon into early Monday morning. Accumulating or plowable snow is a good bet at this point accompanied by strong gusty winds. A big snow storm is also within the realm of possibilities.

So now for the million dollar question…how much snow? If the storm tracks over/near a sweet spot south of Nantucket (AKA the benchmark) we'll get a big snowstorm. If the storm comes too close to the coast, we could change over to heavy sleet and/or rain! That would cut into snowfall totals but still produce a mess. Right now the least likely scenario is the storm missing and heading out to sea.
When will we know more?

One piece of energy that will play a major role in this storm’s development is still in Canada and has a long distance to travel. What that disturbance does over the next 24-48 hours will be vital to nailing down a forecast.

What trends are we noticing today?

Over the last 24 hours the trend has been to bring the track of the storm farther west. This is the reason we are saying an out to sea solution is least likely. All of our computer models are calling for snow to varying degrees. The question is…has that western trend stopped or will it continue? Too far west and we’ll pull in some warmer air with a changeover to sleet/rain (as the Canadian model is currently showing). Also on the topic of trends, the European computer model has remained fairly consistent in showing a bit hit for us here in New England (and all snow). In the past when the Euro does that, it’s usually onto something.

Spring forecasting challenges

Forecasting late winter/early spring storms comes with a unique set of challenges.  The ground is warmer.  There’s also a higher sun angle at this time of year. These factors can sometimes limit how much snow sticks to the ground (especially paved surfaces) during the daytime. However, all bets are off if it snows heavily enough. Also, once the sun sets, it’s game on.

Another challenge this time of year is the lack of truly arctic air. That can lower snow-to-liquid ratios (think heavier wetter snow instead of the fluffy dry stuff). Hey, at least we don’t have leaves on the trees yet!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Winter For The First Day Of Spring?

Winter's revenge?
Many of us have already put away the snow blower and snow boots, especially after last week’s record warmth. But winter might make a comeback, just in time for the first day of spring!

An arctic front Friday will bring a late-winter chill back to New England, helping to set the stage for a developing nor’easter.

The budding storm will be off the coast of the Carolinas Saturday night. The storm will rapidly intensify as it moves north.

I am confident a strong coastal storm will develop, but where it tracks is the million dollar question, and the track will determine the impact. A path close to the coast would mean rain and/or snow and high winds. A track too far east would be a slight blow with little or no impact. Then, there’s a sweet spot in the middle that could bring New England an impressive snow storm. It wouldn't be the first time Connecticut got plowable snow in March!

Two possible scenarios
While we can't give you specifics yet, it's becoming increasingly likely that Connecticut will feel some impact from the coastal storm.  ALL of our operational computer models are indicating at least some snow at this time. One of our most trusted sources for mid/long range forecasting is the European Ensembles (forgive me for getting technical). Right now 70% of the members show AT LEAST 1" of snow. That's a high percentage for an event 4+ days away.

When forecasting storms that are still several days away, it’s important to look at trends. Are the models trending west over time? Is the storm getting stronger or weaker? As of right now, we’re seeing a lot of big changes from run to run with very little consistency. That indicates a low-confidence forecast.


Bottom line: It’s too soon to get nervous or excited yet. But keep an eye on the forecast over the coming days as we get a better handle on the impact.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sun, Showers, Storms & SNOW?

Remember the sun? After a couple of gray days, Wednesday’s sun will be a welcome sight in the sky! The day will get off to a murky start with low clouds and fog. But that moisture will burn away revealing some sun accompanied by a warm-up. Temperatures will climb into the 60s (50s for the shore). There is a chance for a late day or evening shower as a fast moving weather system flies by.
Another fast-moving disturbance will zip through Thursday too. While most of your Saint Patrick’s Day looks dry with partial sun, afternoon showers and thunderstorms are possible. Some of those storms could even be strong with gusty winds.

Colder (albeit seasonable) air returns Friday into the weekend. The question is, will that cool down be accompanied by storminess?

On The Weather Watch: We’re watching Late Sunday into Monday for a potential nor’easter. 5-6 days there's a lot we don't know. The storm could bring a cold rain and/or late-season snow. But there's also a chance it stays harmlessly out to sea. It would be "funny" if we got snow the first day of spring.

What are you rooting for? Team 'cold rain', 'snow' or 'miss'?

Forecast Details:

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, patchy fog. Low: 39-45.

Wednesday: Early fog burns off. Becoming partly sunny. Chance for evening showers.  High: 56-62.

Thursday: Partly cloudy, chance for afternoon showers or thunderstorms. Some could be strong with gusty winds.  High:  55-60.

Friday: Partly cloudy, chance rain/snow shower in spots. High: Upper 40s-Near 50.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, cooler. Highs: Mid 40s.

Sunday: Increasing clouds. Chance for rain/snow developing late. High: Mid 40s.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Record Warmth Wednesday

This impressive early March warm-up is not over yet. Temperatures will soar into the 70s Wednesday, challenging records.

Early fog will break for lots of sunshine Wednesday allowing temperatures to skyrocket. While 70s are a good bet inland, the shoreline will be noticeably cooler. As the air blows over the Long Island Sound (water temp: 40s), the air cools temporarily. This “sea breeze” as it’s called, will keep the beaches in the 60s Wednesday.

But no matter where you are in the state Wednesday, records could break. The record for Bridgeport is only 60 degrees. The record for the Hartford area is 72.

Thursday is our bonus day. A cold front lurking nearby will be close enough to provide more clouds. But it looks to hold off just long enough to allow one final day near 70 before “cooler” air returns Friday.

While Friday – weekend will be technically cooler, temperatures will still be well above average for this time of year. Parade weekend weather looks dry and pleasant for now. Let’s cross our fingers and hope nothing changes between now and then. 

Early next week looks cooler and unsettled. But there is no arctic cold in sight heading through the final days of winter and into the start of spring.

Forecast Details:

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, patchy fog. Low: 37-43.

Wednesday: Early fog. Mostly sunny, record-challenging warmth.  High: 62-68 shore 68-74 inland.

Thursday:  Mostly cloudy, mild. Chance for showers late-day or at night. High: 65-70.

Friday: Chance for an early morning shower (mainly before daybreak) then becoming sunny. Not as warm as recent days. High: 55-60.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, mild. High: 57-63.

Sunday: Sunshine mixing with high clouds. Mild. Chance for showers at night. High: 57-60.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Touch Of Winter

Winter made a comeback Thursday and to go along with that theme, a few flakes could fly through the air Friday too.

A developing coastal storm will miss Connecticut, staying well to the south.  As the low intensifies, the jet stream will rapidly pull the storm east/offshore. A few flurries are possible Friday, mainly in southern/southeast Connecticut. But it will not be enough to provide any accumulation. Southeastern New England areas like Cape Cod will get accumulating snow, closer to the storm's center of circulation. 

A weaker storm will slide far south of Connecticut Sunday bringing another chance for a touch of snow. Once again, the bulk of the storm looks to stay south with little/no impact other than some flurries.

After a few cold days with the chance for flurries, next week the pendulum will then swing the other way. Temperatures will soar into the 60s for 2-3 days. We may even get 70+ degree warmth on Wednesday. Spring fever will be in full effect.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy. Low: 20-25.

Friday: Mostly cloudy with the chance for a few flurries. No accumulation is expected.   High: Mid 30s.

Saturday: Partly cloudy. High: Low 40s.

Sunday: Chance for early flurries. Clouds break for sunshine. Low 40s.

Monday: Mostly sunny. This will be the start of an impressive warming trend. High: Low 50s.

Tuesday: Mostly sunny, warmer. High: Low 60s.