Districts across Fairfield County are closing, and on my most recent count I believe only Fairfield, Darien, and Trumbull Public Schools have yet to close. If you live in those districts, you can turn off your alarms as well: all schools in Fairfield County will close tomorrow due to heavy snow, sleet, and freezing rain, just as expected. Short range guidance continues to show snow starting around 1:45 or 2 AM in western CT before spreading over the rest of the forecasting area. Snow will continue until at least 6 or 7 AM, and will likely average an inch per hour over that entire time. 6 or 7 AM snowfall rates of up to 2+ inches per hour remain possible per the HRRR and RAP weather models, though that is also when sleet will mix in along the immediate coast. So even though convection will be intense, sleet mixing in will only allow another inch or two of snowfall accumulation through 8-9AM which is when freezing rain will begin to mix in at the coast. Freezing rain may wait until 9-10 AM inland, which is why they still have the higher snowfall totals.
Now, due to the intense nature of this convection and the very spotty nature of mixing at first, there could be differences in snowfall across small areas. The 3-7 inch range, while broad, may actually not even cover all of the snowfall amounts along coastal SWCT. I am confident everywhere will hit at least 3 inches, though there is a good chance areas get much higher than that even at the coast. What I am not confident about is that all areas at the coast stay below 7 inches based on how heavy snow will be before sleet and freezing rain completely take over. On the forecast we now say 3-7+ inches coast and 4-8+ inches inland because there is the potential for a few areas to stay snow just long enough into the heaviest convection that they get some very impressive totals.
Still, by 9 AM I expect the entire coastal plane will be entirely sleet and freezing rain will be mixing in, so snowfall accumulations will be over by then. By 10 AM, all of Fairfield County will be freezing rain, maybe mixed with sleet. The ice accumulation amounts of .15-.35 inches at the coast and .1-.3 inches inland, with the lowest amount inlands further north look like they will verify based on latest guidance. Again, these ice amounts are enough to cause scattered power outages, and I will be updating tomorrow morning on the power outage situation. Stay tuned for that.
Overall, I will continue to watch the short range weather models and will keep updating you on the latest. New NAM data continues to support the going forecast, and confidence is relatively high based on agreement in short range weather models. I will have the final update between 11 and 11:30 PM on timing and accumulations, so make sure to check back then. I’ll also be updating throughout on Twitter, both tonight and tomorrow morning, and as always that feed will be available (with a slight delay) on this website. Make sure to keep it here for the latest on this potentially very dangerous ice and snow storm.