Anyone who wished for a white Christmas this year may get their present a little early! I am going to give you the forecast two ways today. The quick and simple forecast (boring) and the detailed forecast (weather geeks unite!). Cheif Meteorologts Garett Argianas and I pulled out our hair for you trying to get you a good forecast. Bottom line, this is a big weekend for parties, and last minute shopping. But you may have to adjust your plans a little because of this huge snowstorm heading up the I-95 corridor.
Quick and Dirty Version:
~Increasing clouds and cold Saturday
~Main area of snow moving in within a few hours of sunset
~Heavy snow at times through Sunday morning/early afternoon
~Accumulations: 7"-14" for most of CT, 5"-10" north of the I-84
Get your holiday shopping/errands done during the morning/early afternoon today! Clouds will lower and thicken (Saturday). Although a few flakes could fly around in the afternoon, it looks like the bulk of the snow will arrive around sunset. Snow can come down heavy at times with rates of 1"-2" an hour possible. Since there has been a lot of cool air lately, snow should have no trouble sticking to the ground and making roads slick. Winds will whip the snow lowering visibility and makihg it hard to see while driving. Snow will last through at least Sunday morning, with most snow ending by noon. Usually in Connecticut, we draw a line on I-84 and make the snowfall accumulations higher to the north of that boundary. But because of the track of this storm, locations south of I-84 will see the most snow! We are expecting 7"-14" for most of the state. The colder air in place should make this a powdery, fluffy snow (which is harder to make a snowman with in my professional opinion). Temperatures will remain around or below freezing after this storm through Christmas Day (little melting).
Fun Fact: This is the last weekend to shop before Christmas making it difficult for people to get their gifts. If you a procastinator this will be the second year in a row you got screwed. We had a storm last year December 19-20 of 2008. Weird! Here are a couple of links with snowfall totals from last year's storms: Snowfall Totals #1, Snow Totals #2.
The track of the storm is the trickiest part because there will likely be a sharp cut off from snow to almost nothing. The northwest hills could see smaller amounts or much more if the storm shifts it track. There is an area of high pressure to the north of us. While it is close enough to help trap cold air in the region, I don't think it's too close that too much dry air wraps into the storm. Temperatures are cold enough that this is an ALL SNOW event. No sleet, no freezing rain, no mixture, just the powdery white stuff. There is a blizzard watch across Long Island, so we'll have to see if that alert gets exteneded to the immediate shoreline. Winds may get close to blizzard criteria. The air is very dry, so we will probably see a lot of virga around. That means snow could be falling from the sky but evaporatnig before it reaches the ground. The radar will look deceptive for a while tomorrow!