Snow day chances inch up yet again as the heaviest banding of the day sits across Southwestern Connecticut. A combination of the heavier snow currently falling and better agreement between short range high resolution guidance regarding the precipitation shield of this storm has increased my confidence in school closures tomorrow to currently forecast a 50-50 chance of a snow day or delay.
A current look at the radar here shows intense banding setting up across all of Southwestern Connecticut that is bringing snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour and is quickly covering all roads that were not yet snow covered. Road conditions are rapidly deteriorating. It is advised that all travel cease from this point unless absolutely necessary. This is actually possibly some of the heaviest snow we will see from the storm, but as we are looking at another 8-10+ hours of snow this is by no means the end of the storm. Radar indicates that the band sitting over the area, instead of moving, is simply expanding to fill in all areas with a lot of atmospheric lift. We knew for the past 24 hours that SWCT would see decent atmospheric lift, and once the moisture from the storm moved in the radar really lit up and we got this moderate to in some cases very heavy snow. There are other heavy bands of snow behind this initial band, but none are as impressive, likely because the moisture moving in is taking advantage of all of the additional lift that had been building during the light snow earlier. Still, though snow may not remain this heavy throughout the day, it won’t weaken very much and we can expect moderate snow for the better part of the next 12+ hours.
Along with this, the RAP and HRRR are coming into better agreement that while the heaviest snow will likely end by midnight, lingering snow showers accumulating up to another inch or two will continue through 4 or 5 AM. This has increased confidence in schools needing to close, as with the amount of snow that will fall this afternoon and evening it will be very difficult to clear roads in time, especially with winds gusting and blowing snow around tonight and temperatures getting down into the single digits across all of Southwestern Connecticut. This additional snowfall will also help add to accumulations, making me even more confident that we will enter into our forecasted ranges. Confidence is close to high that the snowfall accumulation forecasts will be hit, and I am glad that I have stuck with one single forecast thus far throughout the storm. Of course, if this enhanced band decides to sit over the region even longer we could end up with more snow than forecasted, but most modeling has this band move on through the area in the next hour and be followed by other weaker bands of enhanced snowfall. One thing is sure: moderate to heavy snow is now here and here to stay.
I will keep following radar trends and updating with brief thoughts on Twitter. My next update will come out between 4 and 5 PM depending on how confident I am regarding school closures. There is a good chance that I will forecast school closures in the next update, though it is far from a guarantee as some guidance still has that precipitation shield move out of the area by 2 AM or so, making delays feasible for those that do not get quite as much snow. What is crazy is that the newest RAP model came in within the last 2 minutes and kept snow going until 7 AM across SWCT, something unheard of with other models. It tilts the precipitation shield much more north/south as the low pressure moves on out, which is believable if the low pressure center is even a little more northwest than a lot of guidance has it. Again, under this scenario snow days would be certain for all of Southwestern Connecticut. I’ll keep monitoring this and all other short-range trends both on this website and on Twitter, so make sure to keep checking back to stay ahead of the worst of this storm.