11 PM Update: 65% Delay, 15% Snow Day Inland, 40% Delay Coast

The final update is out, and after running the latest data I have decided not to forecast a delay at the coast, however multiple coastal districts will likely end up delaying.  The above forecast means that I do not expect more than half of districts along the coast delay, though in a more general term it just means I think some will delay and others will not along the coast.  Further inland, I am more confident in delays across the board.  What is going into this decision?  Well, mainly new surface temperature data, as I have seen evidence that winds shifted more to a due east direction from the ENE/NE direction that they were in earlier, and this means that winds will be coming off of the Long Island Sound for the rest of the night, decreasing the amount of cold air that will be contained along the coastal plain and thus reducing the amount of freezing rain that is expected overall.  This shift will have minimals effects in inland communities where there is more elevation, as temperatures will be colder at the surface and roads more dangerous in the snow.  That’s why I am sticking with my chance of a delay there, as there remains a decent chance of icing overnight tonight.  As for snow days, I would be very surprised to see closures south of Interstate 84, though I guess it is possible if dangerous conditions persist through the morning. After the number of days already lost this year, most school districts should be scrambling to stay open, and with a marginal snow storm such as this where conditions will be much more favorable by morning, I would be very surprised if more than maybe one or two isolated districts close.  I often do err on the side of being more cautious, but this is a scenario when it likely won’t be necessary, and even inland I expect a delayed opening to be the best call for school.

As for current weather, snow is still dominating, with current amounts ranging from 2-5 inches across SW CT.  That’s the overall forecast as well, and I expect the region to turn to sleet in the next 30-45 minutes and for accumulations to really wind down.  So while a few regions will end up hitting 6 inches, the general range of accumulations in my snowfall forecast ended up working out quite well inland, with the coastal plain being underdone because of a stronger expected role from the maritime air.  Regardless, that transition to sleet will be happening soon, and that will be followed by a transition to a rain/freezing rain, with freezing rain dominating inland and rain dominating more at the coast by 1 or 2 AM still.  By 3 or 4 AM, I continue to believe that the entire region will turn over to plain rain, with isolated areas in valleys maybe staying frozen until 5 AM or so. That’s why I really don’t see many snow days, but rather see delays across a lot of SW CT.

Those are my overall thoughts for the night.  Stay safe, as the heavy snow does look to last a little bit longer, and even when there is sleet and especially freezing rain roads can be extremely dangerous.  Come sunup tomorrow, it’s unlikely we will actually see the sun for awhile, as there will be a second batch of precipitation trying to move through between 10 AM and 1 PM that will keep it cloudy as well, but temperatures should warm up enough to melt most ice and snow and road conditions should be much safer.  Then attention turns to a storm next Sunday into Monday that could lead to even more fun.  Check back tomorrow morning for the latest on the storm.

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