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January 24 – Thoughts on late-January and February

The rain and wind storm was absolutely nasty on Thursday, but we can at least be thankful that it did not come between the late-spring and mid-fall when the trees are still full of leaves. Wind gusts over 50 mph would have caused much more damage. As it was, there were downed branches and flooded streets after another 1-3+” of rain. The temperature is falling through the 40s and 30s this evening, and will drop below freezing from west to east between late-evening and before dawn. Watch out for a few icy spots due to all the standing water out there.

24 hour rain totals ending as of 8 pm Thursday

The next couple of days look quiet and gradually colder. Friday will be partly cloudy and breezy (10-25 mph) with highs in the upper 30s to low 40s. It drops into the teens to low 20s by dawn on Saturday, and then bounces back into the low 30s on Saturday afternoon with some sun. A weak disturbance approaches late Saturday night into early Sunday and could bring a few rain/snow showers. A coating-1″ of snow cannot be ruled out if the system holds together. Expect a high in the low 40s on Sunday. Monday and most of Tuesday look quiet and seasonable. A midweek storm system will bring rain and/or snow Tuesday night into early Wednesday. At this point, I’m leaning more to rain than snow, but it could well start as snow/sleet before changing to rain. Cold air follows that storm.

Cold late next week

It looks fairly quiet late next workweek, but there are some signs of stormy weather between February 2-4. It’s a long way down the road, and the chart below shows the uncertainty regarding snow potential in the next 15 days. This chart is from the European model and is for Providence. 20% of the 50 model members have less than 2″ of snow in the next two weeks. 25% of the 50 members have at least 6″ (and in some cases much more) snow in the next two weeks. Roughly 50% of the members are somewhere in the middle. I would classify late January and early February as a “high potential” weather pattern for snow. If storms form near the East Coast, there should be sufficient cold air to support snow. In fact, the cold will be the main story for the Midwest into early February.

I got a peek at the 46-day European model run this evening. It favors colder than normal weather (on average) through February. It also predicts wetter than normal weather. The control run offers 30-40″ of snow in CT, RI, and SE MA in the next 6.5 weeks. That’s a lot! The ensemble mean, as you might expect, is a lot more tempered in its prediction of about 16-24″ of snow – still near normal. So, it’s way too soon to write this winter off as a bust for snow-lovers. Realistically, however, it’s going to take a decent comeback in the next 6 weeks to get to normal for the season.

Fred Campagna

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

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