Feb 22, 2013: Rain For Tomorrow, Tuesday

Forecast Highlights:

Today brought warmer temperatures to the area as the cold air mass that was present over the last few days weakened, with highs peaking in the mid to upper 30s. The next storm will affect the area on Saturday into Saturday night, with light to moderate rain expected along with some snow inland. Warmer temperatures are expected behind the storm, although dry conditions won’t last for long as another storm affects the area next Tuesday.



Tonight – Sunday: Rain, Some Snow/Ice

The major winter storm in the Plains yesterday has weakened, and is currently over Wisconsin producing widespread light precipitation from the Midwest through the Great Lakes and Mid Atlantic regions. Light precipitation will spread into the area tonight, with light snow west and north of NYC, possibly accumulating up to 1/2 or 1 inch for interior areas, with light rain for other parts of the area.

The main feature of the weekend storm is a coastal low pressure expected to develop and track northeast, although the model guidance continues to change with its depiction of this event; over the last few days, most models were in agreement of a significant storm affecting the region, with heavy rain/snow inland and a major snowstorm in New England, but since the shortwaves responsible for the coastal storm moved onshore into the western US yesterday, the models have consistently trended towards a weaker and further southeast storm, resulting in less rain and snow as a whole for the region. This was especially evident with this evening’s runs, only showing light rain for the area and light-moderate snow accumulations in central-northern New England, well north of the area. These differences are already apparent with today’s model initializations compared to the outlooks 24-48 hours ago, with the weak primary low further east and the energy for the coastal low a little west of the earlier model forecasts, resulting in a less amplified flow aloft and the low pressure taking a further south track. Despite the further southeast storm track, the low pressure develops and intensifies too late for the area to receive a widespread snowstorm, with rain expected for most of the area instead while a light to moderate wet snowstorm affects interior New England, which with the latest trends will not see a significant snowstorm.

The main revision with today’s forecast was to lower rain/snow forecast totals to reflect the expectation for a weaker and further southeast low pressure, and to add mention of sleet/freezing rain for interior parts of the area. As the coastal low begins to intensify and makes its closest approach to the area, steady light to moderate rain will develop towards the early to mid afternoon hours, especially from NYC and further east/northeast. With temperatures in the low to mid 30s inland and mid to upper 30s for the rest of the area, precipitation type is expected to be rain across the area, although interior parts of the area in far NW NJ and interior SE NY may mix with sleet/freezing rain towards the morning and evening hours. The steady rain is expected to end around 10 PM to 2 AM from west to east, with occasional showers persisting through the early morning hours, mixing with snow in southern CT and SE NY. Partly to mostly cloudy skies are expected by Sunday. Rain amounts are expected to end up generally between 1/4 and 1/2 inch, with the highest amounts further west and lowest amounts further west. Minor snow totals are expected, generally up to or less than 1 inches in interior SE NY and southern CT away from the coast, with locally higher totals possible. Interior locations that observe ice are likely to see amounts under 0.10 inch.

Occasional storm updates will be posted during the afternoon and evening hours on Saturday, with another brief forecast update on Saturday morning.

Next Week: Rain, Wind Expected On Tuesday

Temperatures will briefly warm up on Sunday and Monday behind the storm, peaking in the low to mid 40s inland and the mid to upper 40s for the rest of the area on both days, with mostly sunny skies expected for Monday. The dry conditions won’t last for long, however, as another storm affects the region on Tuesday into early Wednesday. A low pressure will track into the Great Lakes region, becoming negatively tilted as stronger winds and widespread precipitation, moderate to possibly heavy, moves through the region.

The forecast at this time is for precipitation to develop towards the mid afternoon hours, continuing through the mid overnight hours. Some front end frozen precipitation is expected in the form of snow, although the location and amounts are still uncertain at this time; currently, interior parts of the area are favored to start with snow or a mix before changing over to rain, although this is still subject to change. Otherwise, moderate to possibly heavy rain is expected, along with strong east/ESE winds with gusts up to or over 40 mph likely. As the low pressure tracks north of the area, drier conditions are expected on Wednesday with warmer temperatures, currently likely to rise well into the 40s, possibly passing 50 degrees in parts of the area. Stay tuned for more information on the mid week storm.

Longer Range Update: For the rest of the week into the weekend, a colder air mass is expected over the region, although the focus of the cold will remain well west of the area, with temperatures remaining close to average, generally in the 40s for highs. The ECMWF model has been hinting at a storm possibility next weekend, although it is currently the only model to show this potential; at this time, the majority of the models support a dry weekend, although this possibility of a storm will continue to be watched should there be any support for such a solution in the future.

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