January Thaw (Sort of…)

Don’t get too excited. The thaw probably won’t last longer than a day and don’t think you’ll be able to head out and play some frisbee either. A burst of heavy rain will accompany the brief thaw before we cool down again.

Our computer models are honing in on an “inside runner” storm for next Tuesday. Though this will likely start out as snow or ice it looks like it will flip to rain everywhere with a track west of Connecticut. Thankfully we are not talking about enough rain or warmth to cause flooding (like January 1996) but the snowpack will certainly take a beating.

No sustained period of above normal warmth seems likely in the near future.


Overnight Ice

1z Surface Map

What will be a major rainstorm will begin as some ice in parts of Connecticut. Temperatures have dropped off quickly this evening and faster than computer models forecasted.

18z NAM 6 hour Surface Temperature Forecast

Given the fact temperatures are so far below what was forecasted it seems likely a period of ice will overspread Connecticut late tonight. Easterly winds will develop and bring in warmer air quickly, but areas in Litchfield County could pick up 0.1″ of freezing rain. This is certainly enough to cause problems on untreated roads.

Once the freezing rain ends Sunday will be  a soaker. 1″-3″ of rain is expected with locally higher amounts possible.

Early Week Warmth

This is the NAM surface temperature forecast for midday Tuesday. The yellow is temperatures above 60 degrees! The average high on Tuesday is 48 degrees in Hartford so if the 62º-64º forecast is accurate we’d be looking at substantially warmer than normal temperatures across Connecticut. Up north the NAM is showing 60s for ski country in southern Vermont – even in the higher elevations!

The warmth won’t last long. It’s back to normal by Wednesday afternoon along with a ripping northwesterly wind. The Thanksgiving storm (now delayed until Thursday night and Friday) could still produce a little bit of snow and sleet in southern New England with the potential for a more sizable winter storm (including ice) in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Winter for Thanksgiving?

2 shots of colder than normal weather are heading to New England with a substantial warm up in between. Here’s the GFS MOS forecast for Windsor Locks over the next couple days. It looks reasonable to me and blends pretty well with the other computer models.The average low/high for today is 32/50 so you can see the next 3 days will be a couple degrees below normal and then we see a pretty substantial warm up by Tuesday and Wednesday.

Across ski country in the Berkshires and Green Mountains the chill will be even more impressive with temperatures in the higher elevations struggling out of the 30s in Saturday, below freezing all day Sunday, and overnight lows in the teens. With low relative humidity and light winds on Sunday it should be fantastic snow making weather during the second part of the weekend and through the first half of Monday.

Obviously the 2-3 day surge of warmer air after this weekend won’t be pretty on the slopes. Even with some rain likely as well the pay off could be sweet. Today’s 12z GFS (valid 18z Thanksgiving) develops a very impressive nor’easter that straddles the coast of southern New England.  For most areas in southern New England away from the coast this could produce a quick inch or two of snow or sleet followed by rain. Up in the Green Mountains, however, a track like this could produce a wintry mix and decent snowfall totals.

Before you get too excited, however, other models aren’t nearly as wintry. The European model keeps the storm much further west (which is much warmer) before the storm can redevelop off the New England coast. Still, there is a signal for some snow or sleet in the higher elevations of Vermont on Thanksgiving even with the “warmer” solution.

If you have travel plans on Thanksgiving try to keep posted on this forecast. If you have ski plans after Thanksgiving cross your fingers because you may be in luck. Even if the natural stuff doesn’t wind up falling on Turkey Day the weather following Thursday should be the coldest so far this season with some great snow making days.