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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Three Ugly Days

 Get ready for a nasty three day stretch with minor coastal flooding, rain, snow and gusty winds.  A storm exiting off the mid-Atlantic coast on Wednesday will slowly move offshore.  Even though the brunt of the storm stays out to sea, intermittent rain and snow showers on the northern fringe will plague the region from Wednesday all the way through Friday! No matter how much snow you get, we're in for an ugly stretch of weather that will leave you ready for spring. 

Timing, What To Expect:

Light rain and snow showers will develop on Wednesday, mainly during the afternoon with little or no accumulation. Temps will climb into the low 40s. Northeast winds will increase throughout the day with gusts to 40 mph.  Wet snow will accumulate Wednesday night into Thursday morning as temperatures drop. A slushy inch or two is likely by Thursday morning.  Some school delays are possible. School cancellations? I don’t think so but you never know what forecast a superintendent is listening to.

Temperatures will climb above freezing on Thursday into the upper 30s inland to near 40 for the shoreline.  With mainly light snow and mild temps, a lot of the snow that falls on Thursday could melt on contact with the ground. In fact, A coating to two inches is possible during the day, mainly in the higher elevations of northwest and northeast Connecticut. Winds continue to gust up to 40-50 mph with winds slowly diminishing  by Thursday night.

Thursday night into Friday, a NORLUN trough will kick back additional snow showers (even as the storm pulls away). This is the trickiest part of the forecast, especially in eastern Connecticut where snow potential is significantly higher (due to the proximity to the storm).  I’m thinking an additional 1”-4” is possible with the high end of that range for eastern Connecticut.

Snow Accumulation During Spring Storms:
As is typical in spring storms, location is key!  The shoreline will get more mixing (with rain) than inland areas.  But there will be plenty of inland variability too. Valley locations will get significantly less snow than the higher elevations. Another factor to consider during spring storms is the higher sun angle.  During the day solar radiation (even through the clouds) can make it harder for snow to accumulate than during the evening hours.  The next few days will also remain well above freezing.  So snow will have a hard time sticking (especially to paved surfaces).  During the evenings (Wednesday night and Thursday night), cooler temps and the lack of solar radiation will allow for accumulating snow.

This is also a long duration event.  So plows should have time to keep up with all the accumulating snow. 

A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for eastern Connecticut including New London and Windham counties for the potential for 6 or more inches of snow.  While I think 6 inches of total snow fall is possible in New London counties.  I think it’s unlikely to accumulate for the reasons mentioned above.  However, the northeast hills could indeed accumulate a half a foot of snow with colder daytime high temps and a better shot at holding onto accumulating snow.

Winds will increase throughout the day on Wednesday, peaking overnight Wednesday into Thursday with gusts from 35-45 mph inland and gusts to 50+ mph on the shoreline.  Some isolated power outages are possible But I don’t expect anything widespread.  This will be a heavy wet snow. But we aren’t getting enough to cause major problems.  A wind advisory is posted for the shoreline of Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and New London Counties from 4 PM Wednesday to 6 PM Thursday.

Coastal Flooding:
This massive ocean storm will churn up waves and rough surf.  But these problems will primarily be for ocean facing beaches.  A coastal flood watch is in effect for the western Long Island Sound (Fairfield, New Haven counties) for tidal departures between 2.5’-5’.  That’s considered minor flooding. During Wednesday night’s high tide around 6:30 PM, Stamford’s forecast water level is 10.3’-10.8’, Bridgeport is 9.9’-10.4’ and New Haven’s is 8.8’-9.3’. Waves could reach 2’-5’ causing some beach erosion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Thanks again. Very useful information.


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