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January 17 – Morning Update

As mentioned in the Right Weather private Facebook group, there was not too much change in the forecast as the models arrived overnight. This will be a fairly brief update to highlight some of the major impacts from this storm as I await additional computer model information arriving this afternoon. While this may not be a major snowmaker for a big chunk of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Southeastern Massachusetts, it is very likely to be fairly high impact event.

It starts Saturday evening with a burst of snow that lasts through most of the night. This should bring 2-6″ of snow by about 5 a.m. Sunday. Late at night, milder air arrives at the coast and changes snow to sleet/rain.

The heaviest precipitation is likely between 5 am – 1 pm on Sunday. Exactly what precipitation type that is depends on the storm track and where you live. Inland counties in CT and NW RI have the best chance of still seeing some snow in that time frame, but there may also be sleet and freezing rain. Closer to the coast it’s most likely to be rain, but freezing rain is possible, too – especially in southwest CT. There may not be much snow accumulation in all of CT, RI, and SE MA between 7am-1pm. Odds favor liquid or icy precipitation.

Euro paints an icy scene late Sunday afternoon

Cold air comes crashing back in Sunday afternoon from northwest to southeast. Significant icing is possible in Connecticut and Rhode Island if the precipitation. Models are showing the cold air arriving at the surface first, which would lead to freezing rain. Heavy freezing rain does not happen too often outside of inland CT, but this setup looks like it’s a distinct possibility in most of CT and RI, with a lower chance in SE MA. This is the part of the forecast that’s most uncertain. I hope to have a better idea about it when the short-range models get a hold of the system on Friday.

Early, early snow projections favor 6″+ in the northern CT counties and NW of I-295 in RI. Less than 6″ is likely everywhere else which includes the coast, most of RI and all of SE MA. It’s possible there will be less than 2″ at the immediate coast. The storm has so much precipitation with it that a slight track change means several inches more/less of snow.

The freezing rain and flash freeze threat may be the biggest problem for CT, RI, and SE MA from this storm. It may get very icy Sunday afternoon/evening, and strong winds bringing in the Arctic air could down trees/limbs and power lines if there is glaze ice on the branches. Expect the temperature in the single digits to low teens by late Sunday night with wind chills below zero. Precipitation ends Sunday evening, but the storm’s impact may linger into Monday morning due to the ice and bitter cold.

Another update on the way for this afternoon.

Fred Campagna

President and Chief Meteorologist - Right Weather LLC AMS Certified Consulting Meteorologist #756 AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist #126

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