Like you, I’ve been reading the hype. It’s only Wednesday. Folks are already breathless over an immense storm coming to New England, Friday.
Say it isn’t so.
At the NWS Forecast Office in Taunton, lead forecaster Nicole Belk opened up in the tech discussion:
CONFIDENCE CONTINUES TO GROW IN A FOOT OR MORE OF SNOW AFFECTING A LARGE PORTION OF THE REGION. WE HAVE BROUGHT UP SNOW ACCUMULATIONS WITH THE LATEST FORECAST…BUT IT MAY NOT EVEN BE ENOUGH IN SOME LOCALES.
The unsigned discussion from the Upton, NY office adds:
NEAR BLIZZARD CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE FOR THE EASTERN ZONES…ALONG WITH SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL.
When Upton says “EASTERN ZONES” they mean New London, Middlesex and possibly New Haven Counties! Upton serves much of the New York Metro area, plus the Connecticut shore.
The European (ECMWF) model is sobering. In one three hour stretch it drops 8″ of snow over Providence, RI. That’s nearly 3″/hour! And that’s not the whole storm, just one little piece of it.
OK… here goes. Just remember, it’s Wednesday. We’re two days out. Nothing I say will happen exactly as forecast. Hopefully I’ll be close.
The precipitation starts Friday morning, probably around drive time. Inland, school closings are likely before the first flake falls. Closed businesses too.
On the shore, where there will be significant daytime rain, schools should open (though many won’t). There will be a huge accumulation difference between shoreline and inland.
Take Groton for example. The GFS has 1.5″ of rain from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, then snow overnight. The model shows 13.8″ of snow overnight… but that will not happen!
With daytime temps in the upper 30s and all that rain, much of what falls as snow in Southeast Connecticut will melt in puddles. Not all of it, much of it.
In New Haven it’s also 1.5″ of rain, then 5.8″ of snow. Temperatures will be a few degrees cooler in New Haven, but a good deal of the snow will be sacrificed on the wet ground there too.
The rain snow line will stay close to the shore. Hartford, for instance, has under six hours of rain and sleet. The rest is snow. The GFS says 14.9″, but with wet ground, I’d expect actual accumulation in Hartford to be more than 6″, but less than a foot.
Canaan should be all snow. Bradley too. A foot or more is likely near the Massachusetts border.
In Connecticut the heaviest snow will fall along the Rhode Island border. The GFS output for Willimantic has over two feet of snow, though rain briefly mixing in will mean less… but not much less!
And then there’s the wind.
It will howl with tropical storm force gusts late Friday into Saturday. Power outages are likely, especially in Eastern Connecticut.
The snow tapers Saturday midday. Expect to stay put until Sunday.
Where’s my roof rake?