3/31/11 Noon: Last Minute Shift Changes Forecast

10 PM: Due to technical difficulties, no full update was posted tonight. Tonight’s forecast remains the same for the storm. The 5-Day Forecast page was updated for now through Sunday, and tomorrow’s update will discuss the forecast through Tuesday in more details.

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6:20 PM: Over the last 1-2 hours, precipitation began to intensify especially south, east and NE of NYC, with snow and sleet mixing with the rain in parts of the area but with no accumulations. The heaviest precipitation will not last long, and occasional rain showers will continue through the rest of this evening, mixing with light snow and sleet at times.

For tonight’s storm, however, a last minute shift on the models has significant changed the outcome of the storm across the region and especially in the area. Two days ago, the models already showed the storm close to its peak intensity when near the area, which would’ve been a supportive solution for a heavy wet snowfall in NYC but was an unlikely solution. Yesterday’s models delayed the intenficiation of the storm, allowing warmer 850 mb temperatures to push further north as the storm is developing, resulting in heavy rain for the eastern parts of the area and a moderate snowstorm further west. Today’s models, however, trended even more east and weaker to the point where the storm fails to become anything significant for anyone outside of central/northern New England.

As such, I downgraded the Snow Watch to a Light Snow Alert for the interior parts of the area and removed the Rain Watch for Long Island. The latest expectation, which will be posted in the 5-Day Forecast page shortly, expects occasional rain/snow/sleet showers to continue through this evening, with steadier rain developing after midnight, mixing with snow further north and west of NYC. The precipitation will become moderate at times, especially further east, falling as rain for NYC and further east while falling as snow towards Orange, Sussex and West Passaic counties. The snow line may shift further southeast by Friday morning, potentially reaching the immediate north/west suburbs of NYC, before ending by at least noon.

Rainfall amounts for the eastern parts of the area are expected to end up between 1/4 and 3/4 inch, with snowfall amounts between 1 and 4 inches further inland towards Sussex, West Passaic and Orange counties, with the highest amounts in the higher elevations. Stay tuned for more updates on this storm tonight, as well as an update on a storm that will bring warmth and potentially strong thunderstorms to the area on Tuesday and Tuesday night.

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