Feb 25, 2012: Rain, Wintry Mix Return Wednesday

Forecast Highlights:

– Warmth returns Monday, 55-60 degrees in NYC
– Storms return Wednesday-Thursday, Saturday
– Wintry mix again Wednesday? Colder scenario is possible


Behind the surprise snowstorm for Thursday night which brought accumulations as high as 5 inches in parts of southern Connecticut, locally heavy showers moved through yesterday evening associated with a developing coastal low pressure, with today bringing widespread windy conditions across the area, with winds gusting up to 40-50 mph across parts of the area, especially in Long Island where gusts in the 50-60 mph range were more frequent. Snow squalls were observed this evening as well with an area of moderate snow squalls moving through northern NJ, NYC and Long Island.

The latest radar posted above shows that the storm has cleared the region, with clearing skies expected for tonight into tomorrow. Warmth will briefly return for Monday with temperatures getting close to 60 degrees near NYC, but temperatures will quickly cool down afterwards, with the next storm returning on Wednesday. The Wednesday storm is still uncertain, but there is a possibility that a wintry mix may once affect parts of the area.

Tomorrow’s Outlook:

A drier and sunnier day is expected for the area tomorrow with a high pressure moving in, resulting in mostly sunny skies for the area. Temperatures will be slightly cooler, in the upper 30s to lower 40s across the area, with a NW wind expected.

Next Week: Watching Mid Week Storm

Monday will be the warmest day of the week as a weak storm stays well to the north of the area with no precipitation, instead bringing partly sunny skies and a warmer air mass. Temperatures will reach the mid to upper 50s across the area, and in the warmer case scenario it is not out of the question that NYC gets close to 60 degrees. Tuesday will slightly cool down but with temperatures still reaching the mid to upper 40s, along with mostly sunny skies.

With a more active pattern starting to develop compared to the unusually dry and quiet pattern the area observed in February, with parts of the area still not having reached 1 inch of precipitation for the entire month so far, the next storm to affect the area will be on Wednesday and Thursday. The models yesterday and 2 days ago showed a heavy rain event with warm temperatures for the region, but as with the storm late last week when the models also had a similar solution in the medium range, today’s models backed further south and weaker towards a potential significant snowstorm in parts of the Northeast, setting up for what is likely to be yet again a complicated and difficult forecast for the mid week storm. Given the trends with this pattern and the confluence in the Northeast preventing the storm from moving northeast, the current suppressed storm solutions are more likely to verify than the original warm storm idea, and for tonight’s update I am siding with the southern solutions, but how far south the storm comes is still uncertain.

The storm is expected to come in two parts; the first part will be front end precipitation moving into the cold air in place on Wednesday afternoon, resulting in widespread frozen precipitation in parts of the Northeast. Less precipitation is expected for Wednesday night, with an inverted trough-like feature to move through the region on Thursday. Should the storm bring frozen precipitation to the area, the best chance for that will be with the front end precipitation on Wednesday. The southernmost model run today was the 12z ECM, which even had accumulating snow in NYC, and a significant snowstorm for southern/central New England. The other models today also gradually trended south and colder, with the latest GFS run showing a wintry mix for the interior parts of the area, and the latest 0z CMC run showing moderate to even significant snow accumulations in Orange County, NY and in interior southern/central Connecticut.

Given the set up in place, I am leaning with the colder scenarios at this time, while adding snow and sleet in the 5-Day Forecast north and west of NYC. There is still uncertainty, however, as it is possible that the storm could still end up further north, with mostly rain for the area. Another possible scenario is that the storm continues to trend colder and more suppressed, in which case accumulating snow would affect the rest of northern NJ and NYC, with a heavier snow potential for the interior parts of the area, although this is the snowiest outcome possible with this set up. This colder solution is not guaranteed, and it is possible that a warmer and rainy scenario verifies, but based on the latest trends, the potential is there for frozen precipitation, potentially accumulating, in the interior parts of the area, and I will continue to monitor this potential over the next couple of days. Stay tuned for more information on this storm.

Late Week – Weekend Overview: Cooler temperatures will briefly return, although the next storm will approach the region during the weekend. The latest models show a rain event for Saturday and possibly for Sunday with warm temperatures, but while a snowstorm is unlikely, considering how the long range models were considerably off with their solutions for the last couple of storms, changes are expected for this time frame, and a less rainy and colder outcome is a possibility. More information will be posted as details become clearer.

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