Courtesy: Mike Valletta/In Touch with the Litchfield Hills
Yesterday I blogged about the lake effect snow that made it into Litchfield County and dropped a half inch of snow near Torrington. I also mentioned that more bands like that were likely and additional minimal accumulation was possible. This morning several persistent bands dropped 2″-4″ of snow in many locations in Litchfield County and the northern Naugatuck Valley. A big surprise for many of us!
A closed low just to our north has been sending spokes of vorticity through southern New England that are producing widespread, albeit weak, synoptic-scale lift. In addition moisture from very pronounced lake effect snow streamers off Lake Ontario have been able to make it to Connecticut. The combination of the added lift, some moisture from the lake effect, and a bit of low level instability this is the perfect combination.
These are almost impossible to forecast but seem to happen once or twice every winter. As we’ve seen they can really screw up the morning commute. Don’t be surprised if a few more towns pick up accumulation today and tonight before this closed low scoots east.
It’s going to be a cold week. No doubt about that. The high today at Bradley Airport was 35 degrees which was the coldest day since February 16, 2010! Temperatures will remain below normal for the next 7 days – that’s the easy part of the forecast.
The current weather pattern, though cold, is pretty quiet and stagnant. By Friday things get more interesting with a more stormy pattern developing. Late Friday or Saturday our computer models are showing an Alberta Clipper diving through the Great Lakes and approaching New England. As is typically the case there won’t be much moisture for the storm to work with so precipitation will be light. A couple inches of snow isn’t out of the question for parts of New England depending on where the storm tracks and if it starts to redevelop off the coast.
Beyond Friday a more important storm develops by Sunday. Some models have an intense storm developing west of us and rushing warm air and rain into New England while others develop the storm into a classic nor’easter. Here’s the 12z GFS which would drop over a foot of snow for many of us while the 12z Euro is hundreds of miles west and a big rainstorm. A storm signal is certainly here we just need to figure out where exactly the storm tracks (over the Appalachians or off the coast?). The strength and location of the -NAO block, the track and intensity of Friday’s clipper system, and the strength and location of Pacific energy that helps form this storm are all variables that need to be ironed out. The odds, however, do favor something wintry by next Sunday or Monday and it could be significant.
Behind the low pressure that brought rain, freezing rain, and sleet to most of northern New England a much colder air mass has moved in. It’s plenty cold (and dry enough) to fire up the snow guns tonight and Mother Nature may have some tricks up her sleeve tomorrow.
Here’s the 18z GFS forecast of 500mb heights and vorticity valid at 1 p.m. Saturday. You can see an impressive vort max sliding through Vermont and New Hampshire. This will provide “lift” in the atmosphere and when coupled with a strong westerly wind upsloping over the Green Mountains I expect 1″-3″ of snow at the higher elevations, particularly for Killington on north. Jay Peak and Stowe could pick up 3″-5″ near the summit. It’s possible places like Mount Snow and Stratton get a quick inch or two if the atmosphere is able the moisten up enough.
It’s been a disappointing start to the winter up north but this is better than nothing!