This blog post is going to mainly focus on the storm Monday but will have a brief note at the end about the expected colder trend for the Wednesday event that has verified some and could result in some of the higher end snow totals that I mentioned last night. I will be breaking down accumulation and timing expectations for tomorrow just in one big block. There are not many changes from last night, except some models have pushed up the timing of the heaviest snows with the event.
Overall, I have decided to upgrade the forecast for 2-4 inches for the entire region, as latest model guidance doesn’t have as tight a gradient as there was a little while ago. Generally 2 inches or so is expected up by I-84 increasing to 3 inches by the Merritt and then the 4 inch amounts are most likely by the coast. Most models are coming into decent agreement now with the range, though some of the shorter range models appear to be a little more aggressive. At the immediate coast there could be some isolated amounts slightly over 4 inches maybe approach 5, but that should not be the norm unless the storm shifts fairly significantly northward over the next 24 hours. The main change here is in terms of timing, with some models saying snow could start as early as 4 or 5 AM. This throws a wrench in the whole idea of the entire storm just being snow, because a cold front is moving through tonight, and if some of the precipitation beats the cold air moving through then we could get a period of rain or sleet that will cut down on totals a little bit or make it a little bit harder for the snow to stick. That is why I don’t expect any totals more than 4 inches across the area, and honestly I think a general 3 inches is the best expectation for this storm. This is still within Winter Weather Advisory criteria, and I believe that the National Weather Service will be hoisting Advisories for the entire area at some point this afternoon. Advisories will almost certainly be necessary at the coast, though inland I am not quite as sure. Still, with 3 inches of snow a decent bet I think that Advisories will be hoisted for all of Fairfield County, and when they are that alone will increase the chances of snow days because of the additional publicity that it would gather for this storm.
This brings me to the school day forecast I currently have. I do not forecast snow days this early unless confidence is extremely high, and confidence is not yet that high in snow days just because this is a small event with only 2-4 inches of snow. Even though it is coming at just about the right time, a few models show snow starting as late as 7 or 8 AM, and a few others have snow ending by 1 or 2 PM, so hypothetically there are scenarios where schools could open and have full school days tomorrow. There does look to be a period of at least moderate snow, and if recent trends are correct that it will be at some point between 8 and 11 AM then most schools will likely have to close. I don’t see roads being in shape by the time most schools let out regardless, but again with enough time for the forecast to change I am not yet going to forecast widespread closures. Once I issue the forecast I have never retracted, so when I do I want to be confident that there won’t be enough changes. With both the morning and the afternoon school commutes likely impacted by snow, history has shown that most school districts will likely have to close, even if there is just a general 3 or so inches of snow. The timing is just right, and as confidence in the timing grows today, expect the chance of snow days to grow as well, so stay tuned for that.
As for the Wednesday storm, recent models have trended colder both at the surface and aloft. I will get more into this later, but this basically already guarantees that schools will close on Wednesday due to winter weather as I expect snow, sleet, or freezing rain to dominate most of the day for most of the region. Any colder trends and we could be looking at an all snow event with most areas getting 9 or 10 inches of snow, though amounts could still be more in the 6-inch range if we see an extended period of sleet and freezing rain. Either way, it looks like Wednesday will be a very treacherous travel day, and I can say that with high confidence at this point, so make sure to keep checking back for more on that. I’ll have a detailed post this evening (probably during half time of the Super Bowl or after the game ends) going into that storm as well as I analyze the potential tomorrow. Then of course once the storm ends tomorrow all focus will turn to the Wednesday event.
That’s really all I have to cover for now. Not too much to go into detail about with the snow storm tomorrow as it is small scale and it is only timing that will be closing schools. Keep it here for the latest as I continue to monitor any changes and likely increase the snow day percent chance.