Weekend Storm – Unimpressive Snow Totals but Still Quite a Storm


We’ve got one interesting weather pattern developing over the next couple days with a  combination of snow, cold, and wind. A powerful upper level low (pictured above) and dramatic drop in the jet stream will bring the cold and possible snow to the region.

Overnight model trends indicate the odds of a significant snowstorm in Connecticut this weekend have diminished. Here’s the GFS depiction of the storm Sunday morning. There’s a lot going on here but I’ll talk you through it.


The black lines indicate the height of the level where the pressure in the atmosphere is 500mb. Under southern New England the height of this level is the lowest anywhere on this map! A sub-5000 meter height is exceptionally low and quite anomalous. Given how anomalous the setup is a couple miles up in the air shouldn’t we expect a very anomalous setup here on the ground?

The answer to that is sort of complex. The shape and orientation of this deep closed low over us matters – it matters just as much as the track. The best forcing in this setup to our northeast from Boston through downeast Maine. A powerful nor’easter develops – but develops too late for a major snowstorm in Connecticut.


In order for this to become a major snow event in Connecticut the upper level low will need to dig farther south allowing the coastal low to develop sooner and farther southwest.

That said, a few inches of snow can be expected. The European ensembles show the odds of getting >0.5″ of liquid (think of that as 6″+ of snow) are only about 1 in 4, actually down from yesterday, but the odds of getting >0.25″ liquid (3″+ of snow is a good ball park figure) are quite good – maybe about 3 in 4.

Even if there’s not a substantial amount of snow the storm will still be vicious with bitterly cold temperatures and the potential for very strong winds. The GFS (which is on the weaker side of guidance) shows the potential for wind gusts Sunday morning over 60 mph with snow falling and temperatures in the single digits in the Hartford area.



While actual snow totals may disappoint those sickos looking for another blockbuster – this storm will likely be an impressive one given the combination of wind and cold!


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