The Snow is Finished

Yesterday was my day off – but how could I not work with a major storm coming! I went to work about 2:00 PM and, with Gil Simmons, did cut-ins through the afternoon. Then, I was on the news at 5, 6, 10 and 11, did more cut-ins through the evening and cut some special forecasts which ran on the station’s Internet site.

The snow didn’t come up to my expectations, though it was pretty bad. Some areas did get the two feet I called for. Most did not.

However, I didn’t get more than one or two small complaints – and I got nearly 700 emails this weekend! So, the forecast must have been close enough to prepare people for what came – and it was pretty awful.

After a storm like this I like to write and thanks everyone who went out and measured snow or sent me a snapshot. Attached below is what I sent.

January 23, 2005

The snow is over – thankfully! Judging by your emails, few of you were disappointed with the storm that buzzed through Connecticut this weekend. Even tonight, many roads remain snow covered. We’re not sure what the morning will bring for school closings and delays, but we’re all set with that information beginning at 5:00 AM.

You were kind enough to send us over 650 emails. In this case, sending a note was more than hitting a button! Almost all of you went out and measured the snow for us (incredibly helpful). A lot of you also sent along photos (some of which are now on our website at Judging by your pictures, all dogs, all kids and a few cows, enjoy snow.

This was an interesting system for a variety of reasons. It had been in our 8-Day forecast for eight days. We watched it come on shore in the Pacific Northwest on Thursday and then quickly move through the Great Lakes States on Friday.

It was the interaction between this storm and the relatively warm waters in the Atlantic that made for all the action. By Saturday afternoon we were watching the barometer plunge on the Delmarva Peninsula and in the nearshore buoys in that part of the Atlantic. The storm was both moving closer and intensifying at the same time.

As it grew, it slid south of Long Island, moving east. That’s when we had our greatest snow and strongest winds.

How much snow was there? Based on your observations, the shoreline from Greenwich to Milford and Orange, and the shoreline from the Connecticut River east to the Rhode Island border had the most. Everyone in those two areas had well over a foot with some areas over 18 inches and a few scattered two foot reports!

That’s a lot of snow.

On the shoreline, between those two maximums, accumulations were closer to a foot.

The next highest totals came in far Eastern Connecticut (near the Rhode Island border but north of the shoreline) and from Route 8 eastward to I-91, north of the Turnpike and south of I-84, where 8″ to 14″ fell. Most of the rest of the state received 5-10″.

Because of the cold state of the atmosphere, this was a light and fluffy, very ‘dry’ snow – a fact those plowing certainly appreciated. Though we measure snow by the inch, in this snow-clearing age we might be better served by just weighing it! It’s really weight that decides how easy or difficult it is to clear.

I know, again from your emails, this was a very difficult storm to measure. Instead of falling neatly, the snow drifted in our stiff winds. For instance, between 6:00 and 7:00 AM Sunday, the Groton/New London Airport reported a wind gust of 57 mph. Those of you who commented on the drifts usually said they were 3-4 times the height of the ‘average’ snow in your neighborhood.

Some of you also commented about the Blizzard of ’78. This is a storm Dr. Mel remembers quite well. I asked him to compare it to this system and he said they were very different. This storm came from the west, while in 1978 the system moved up from the tropics. The 1978 storm got caught in an area with weak steering currents – what meteorologists call a cutoff low. That’s why it pounded Connecticut for three days.

Of course, the bigger difference in these two storms was in preparation. Though Connecticut was blindsided then, this forecast was reasonably accurate while the storm was still out in the Pacific Ocean. It’s tough to believe anyone could have been surprised this time.

On behalf of Dr. Mel, Gil Simmons and Matt Scott, thanks for your help and thanks for placing your trust in us.

All the best,

Geoff Fox

Storm Team 8

WTNH News Channel 8

PS – To those who wrote us from warmer spots, we have extra shovels available.

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