A dangerous storm is headed towards the SWCT/NY region; dangerous not just for the snow accumulations but more so for the gusty winds and extreme cold. Premium subscribers have been made aware of many of the threats and have received detailed content ahead of the storm on impact potentials. For those interested in subscribing to our Premium service, you can do so here. Or, you can purchase the individual extremely detailed Premium forecast here. If not, relevant portions have been attached below:
The latest forecast is for 2-5 inches of snow in Westchester County with 3-7 inches of snow in Fairfield County and 4-8+ inches of snow in New Haven County. This reflects the west to east gradient that I highlighted to Premium clients in their forecast last night. Generally, areas furthest west in Westchester are the only ones at risk of seeing 2-3 inches of snow. I see the 4-5 inch amounts there being more widespread if things play out as I see them, but I see most areas there struggling to break 5 inches, hence why I capped snowfall amounts there. Eastern areas such as Bedford, etc. could hit 6 inches in some of the most snowy scenarios, but I also think there are a number of scenarios where far western parts of the country don’t get far past 2 inches. The snowfall gradient will also be fairly north/south, as northern areas look to see slightly more enhanced snowfall accumulation than coastal areas.
Snow begins to accumulate in the early afternoon, likely between 1 and 4 PM across the region from west to east. It will begin light, but briefly pick up in intensity between 4 and 7 PM. By 8 PM or so we are looking at 1-2 inches of fluffy snow on the ground, so most of the accumulations have not occurred in eastern areas. There then comes a lull in the snow briefly, likely between 8 and 10 PM or so across the area, as the first round of scattered snow showers moves out and then the final banding of snow associated with the upper level trough/closed low begins to move in. This “inverted trough” could intensify snowfall through around 3 AM or so in parts of SWCT/NY, and then snow showers become more scattered between 3 AM and 7 AM, finally winding down entirely sometime early Sunday morning.
As for winds, the current forecast is for sustained winds to 30-40 mph with gusts approaching the 55-65 mph range. I think most gusts stay in the 50-60 mph range, but I can’t rule out an isolated stronger gust at the peak of the storm due to its extremely rapid deepening. These winds will be centered primarily at the coast, meaning it is primarily coastal towns that have to worry about wind damage and power outages. The good news is that winds will be coming from the north instead of the south, so the friction over land should keep the winds from being as bad as they otherwise could be. Additionally, trees have lost all their leaves, so there is less to catch the wind and weigh them down. This will again keep wind damage from being as bad as it otherwise could. That being said, wind gusts over 55 mph are enough to cause isolated limbs to fall and pull down a weakly-supported power line. Power outages are thus a possibility in coastal communities that you should begin preparing for.
Sometime around 3 or 4 AM I expect the winds to noticeably pick up, and by around 7 AM or so we are seeing gusts that are in the 40-50 mph range. Winds then peak sometime in the 9 to 11 AM range, which is when gusts could hit the 60 mph mark at the cost and the 50 mph mark inland. They very gradually slow down through the early afternoon, with gusts into the 30 mph range and sustained winds in the 15-25 mph range continuing even into Sunday night. Power outages are expected to occur right around the peak wind gusts. The reason I highlight the power outage threat so much is because of what happens Sunday night. Extremely cold air floods the region, with low temperatures north of I-84 as low as -10 degrees, and the rest of the region getting down into the -5 to -10 degree range. I feel that Wind Chill Warnings may actually be needed as wind chills drop below -30 degrees due to the continued gusty winds overnight. What this means is that if you live at the coast you ought to start creating a contingency plan for what would happen should you lose power tomorrow. Have a location to go to stay warm should your heat no longer work, as the cold Sunday night is going to be close to (but likely not quite) record-breaking.
Thus, while there are moderate snowfall accumulations, it is the strong wind gusts potentially knocking out power before extreme cold that I think could make this storm memorable in SWCT/NY if anything does. The Premium forecast goes into more depth with each aspect of the storm, highlighting key timing for wind and potential variables with this storm that could change the forecast around alongside a forecast for the Tuesday/Wednesday snow threat and beyond, but the first full free forecast has been entirely attached above. If necessary, and additional update will come tomorrow afternoon just finalizing the timing of the winds and tweaking accumulations if necessary. Do stay tuned as this potentially dangerous storm approaches the region.