Before I go into this post, let me again preface this with a PSA: There is no reason to have an Early Dismissal tomorrow, and all the weather models continue to show that it would be a worst case scenario. If you are worried about 2-4 inches of snow falling during the day, then close schools. The worst conditions continue to appear between 9 and 11 AM at this time with the snow dying down by 12 PM or 1 PM, and then completely ending likely between 2 and 4 PM. After 2 PM I do not see much snow accumulations additionally. My goal in the post is going to be to tell you exactly what the weather will be and the reasoning for my percentages, so it will be very clear if and why you would disagree with what I am presenting. I am forecasting a snow day inland but I am still not yet ready to forecast it at the coast. My final update between 11 and 11:30 is more likely to make a final call focusing almost specifically on the coast.
Here’s what the latest trends have been: same amounts of snow, just likely to fall slightly earlier than expected. Snow in northern SWCT could start as early as 8 AM, and will move southeast over the next hour so it is snowing in the entire region for sure by 9 AM. Once the snow starts, it will be heavy within the hour. That I am sure of. By 10 AM we will see rates of close to an inch to maybe even an inch and a half per hour. That snow will then begin to die down by noon, at which point around 1.5-2.5 inches of snow will be on the ground. Over the next two to three hours, another inch to an inch of and a half of snow may fall. That brings totals to around 3-4 inches overall by 2 or 3 PM, at which point snowfall will be scattered and there will likely be no more accumulations. We will have that 3-4 inches of the ground being cleared, and schools will be letting out. There could be up to an extra half inch of snow by the coast, but with surface temperatures also slightly higher ratios may be slightly lower so I think that the forecast for all of Southwestern Connecticut of 2-4 inches with locally 5 inches in the best banding is still exactly on track. I’ve now laid out the timing that I am dealing with with this storm and the timing, so I’ll go into why I have the percentages that I do before I wrap this up.
I’m forecasting snow days inland for the same reasons I outlined earlier: temperatures will be in the upper 20s meaning black ice will be even more of an issue, ratios will be slightly higher, but mainly because the area is more hilly and roads can become even more treacherous with frozen precipitation. History has shown that inland districts close earlier, and I do not expect this storm to lead to anything different. The coast is the much harder call. As I have said before, district history is probably the best indicator. The reason I am not forecasting snow days at the coast is because of towns like Westport and Greenwich, which rarely close as much as surrounding districts. I do expect some coastal districts to close, but a generally 2-4 inches of snow falling during the school day likely will not be quite enough to close them. Some Departments of Public Works are quite effective, and with proper sanding and a full fleet of snow I bet the roads could be basically cleared by 2:30 or 3:00. If the heaviest snow were to be falling between 7 and 8 AM or 2 and 3 PM we could be dealing with widespread closures, enough said, but having the heaviest snow likely between 10 AM and 11 AM means that all kids going to school will be safe in school. Now if I see more evidence that amounts will be closer to that 4-5 inch range I am worried about, then the 11 PM update may call for a snow day. The 11 PM update will be the final call for the evening, so please be sure to check back in for that. There is a good chance I do call for a snow day at the coast, I just need another RAP run and more surface observation evidence before I do that. The forecast is certain, the school impact is not. Stay tuned for the latest.