The snow day percentage has been slightly raised inland, and by the end of the night there is a decent chance that the plug will be closed and it will be forecasted. Along the coast, closures remain a possibility for school districts, especially those with the largest salt/sand shortages, but I am not sure I am ready to forecast widespread closures at this time. I am going to briefly go over some of the latest trends in the forecast here, but this update will be brief as almost all of the thinking in the previous blog post holds.
The main change which has made me question even more potential snow days along the coast is the timing of the heaviest precipitation. New RAP short range weather model data is coming in supporting the heaviest precipitation being after 8 AM, and it shows a strong possibility that the first inch of snowfall accumulation does not fall anywhere in SWCT until 9 AM. In this scenario, coastal areas could open because students could get to school by 8 or 8:30 and outside precipitation will turn to rain by 1 PM and should end by 2 PM, at least in further west areas. Lingering precipitation could hang around until as late as 3 PM, but at the coast all accumulations should end by noon or 1 PM and temperatures will be above freezing at the surface. Again, at the coast there is no reason for any early dismissals as conditions only improve from noon on, hence why I think it is most likely that coastal districts open for the full day. I think that these districts should be able to handle a slushy 2-4 inches across the area, though any small forecast changes could result in very different school projections so make sure to stay tuned.
As for inland areas, it is very likely that I forecast snow days soon. For areas inland, the volume of snow combined with duration potentially lasting until 2 or 3 PM could be enough to close schools, as there I am expecting 3-5 inches and surface temperatures will stay below freezing longer. Though conditions may be ok to get to schools in the morning, I am not sure they will improve enough by 2 or 3 PM for students to get safely home from school. That is why there is a 50% chance of snow days in those regions, as I am watching short range models closely for the duration of the storm, and if they confirm what I am seeing elsewhere of decent snowfall accumulations in the area then I will pull the plug. It doesn’t mean that every district inland will close, but that I think conditions will persist that result in most of them needing to close. This is an extremely close call and one I need to watch very carefully, so make sure to stay tuned for updates on this, as every small forecast change inland could greatly affect any school decisions as well.
Overall, the forecast looks on track. Light snow starts sometime between 5 AM and 7 AM but we don’t look to get the first inch until somewhere between 8 AM and 10 AM. The heaviest snow then takes over between 9:30 AM and noon, at which point there is mixing at the coast as the warm air comes in. Inland heavy snow continues until 1 PM or so, and then it lightens up with precipitation moving out by 2 PM at the coast and at latest 3 PM further east and inland. It’s the changeover in the afternoon that could spare coastal districts the closures, but inland districts very possibly may not be that lucky. I will have the next update around 8 PM once I get more short range data to support what I am currently seeing, so make sure to check back in then for updated school predictions.