As of right now, I believe that Bridgeport Public Schools are the only one still in session that have yet to close, and they will. They are typically the first, but they may just be waiting until tomorrow morning. Either way, every district currently in session within Fairfield County will end up closing.
I’ve been looking over the weather models recently and they continue to trend slightly colder aloft as the arctic air wins out. I’m becoming increasingly confident that over an inch of liquid will fall as snow across all of Southwestern Connecticut, meaning most areas may not have any trouble reaching 10 inches of snow. Throughout the entire storm I was talking about how I expected colder air to get wrapped into the storm and that is why I was initially so high with my snowfall amounts, and now it looks like the amounts are right where they should be, if not a hair lower. Depending on the amount of cold air around tomorrow, I may end up raising coastal amounts slightly, but I don’t see the need for that just yet.
One of the main reasons why I don’t think coastal areas will see over a foot, at least not widespread, is because of compaction. Even with colder air, the coast will turn over to plain rain by 3 or 4 PM, and surface temperatures above freezing along with plain rain will melt some of the snow that has fallen. It won’t be a lot, but a few inches could melt. This snow will then be replaced overnight by the 2-4+ inches that falls in the deformation band before Friday morning, but I don’t think the overall total by sunrise on Friday is over a foot because some of that snow will have compacted and/or melted with the rain during the dry slot. Further inland, with less compaction and snow holding on a little bit longer, amounts over a foot to 14 inches remain very plausible, and there is actually a chance someone sees even a little bit more depending on how long the snow hangs on. Again, I’ll be running data to see if there will need to be any changes to the forecast, and you will see in the 11 PM and Midnight updates if I think I have enough to update amounts across the region.
Sadly, the HRRR weather model is not even in range totally of the changeover yet, so that is why I am not going to go into much more detail as the previous forecasts I have are supported by all the guidance going past noon. The RAP weather model supports the forecast of a preliminary mixture with rain at the coast around noon and then a gradual mixing working its way inland. Still, a last second slightly colder/east trend remains a possibility, and I have been saying that from the beginning. We’ll see what happens and I am watching the short range weather models very closely to see if they continue to support this.
Plus, it looks like that time frame between 10 AM and 2 PM we will be seeing snowfall rates of 2+ inches per hour in parts of Southwestern Connecticut. I will be watching the radar closely, but with snow that heavy and winds gusting to 35+ mph, that still remains the time I am most considered about isolated to scattered power outages across the area. The HRRR supports this too, showing extremely heavy precipitation moving in between 9 and 10 AM. Basically, any travel in the region past 9 AM will be extremely hazardous as snow will be piling up at a rate much, much faster than it will be able to be removed, and we could be talking about whiteout conditions. This is a very dangerous storm with huge amounts of energy and intense dynamics and they look to win out.
Overall, this combination of dynamics and remaining cold air I think will continue to win out, and short range guidance will continue seeing this. I like snowfall totals in the upper amounts of my ranges, but there remains a possibility that amounts are widespread around or over a foot, and I am watching that closely. Check back at the 11 PM update to see if I have enough confidence to tweak upward the accumulation forecast, but I am very confident that there will be widespread heavy snow and that everyone in SWCT should at least hit 8 inches of this heavy, wet, dense snow tomorrow.