Forecast discussion: Over the last three weeks, the winter season has put a lot of frowns on the people of Rhode Island. Officially, T.F. Green Airport in Warwick received 52.1 inches of snow so far this season. A normal winter season for the state would be 28.3 inches. Of course, this does not count northern Rhode Island, where Pawtucket received 11 inches, Warren received 14, and Burrillville received 13 inches. Now, in top of all this snow, we will see some extremely cold weather the next 36 hours, with the chance to add on more snowfall on Tuesday and Wednesday. This is already putting much stress on all flat top roofs, where a warehouse in Warwick collapsed.
For tonight, high pressure over the Great Lakes will bring clear skies tonight. However, we are still dealing with the pressure gradient from the low moving out of Nova Scotia. So, winds of 20-25 mph and gusts of 35 mph will help make the cold temperatures feel colder to our bodies. With temperatures expected to fall to -2 degrees, northern and central Rhode Island will be under a Wind Chill Warning from 7 p.m. tonight until 10 a.m. Monday. The southern part of the state will be under a Wind Chill Advisory. Despite bright sunshine tomorrow, high temperatures will struggle to reach the upper teens. Winds will diminish by tomorrow night, but the cold air still staying over New England will help make the mercury fall to just above zero.
As we head into Tuesday, a low pressure system now forming over central Texas will strengthen, and even bring parts of the Southern U.S. some snow and wintry precipitation. The low’s center will make it to Cape Hatteras, NC by early Tuesday morning, and move off to the northeast. We will be under the precipitation shield by early Tuesday morning, with the risk of seeing light to moderate snow during the afternoon. The low moves towards Nova Scotia early Wednesday morning. We may see another 3-5 inches from this system, if the track stays consistent over the next 24 hours.
As we head into Wednesday, a secondary low forming well south of Tuesday’s low appears to be heading out to sea. But, a weak low that is absorbed by the second low will remain over northern New York Wednesday afternoon. Some upper level dynamics passing over New England may help create snow showers or light snow from this weaker low by the evening commute. The low exits to our north and east, and snow showers will end by 2 a.m. But, this could add another 1-2 inches to the already high snow piles across the state.
The rest of the workweek looks dry, as high pressure coming into the Ohio River Valley early Friday morning will influence our weather. But, colder air from the north will help temperatures fall once again. We will only see highs in the middle to upper teens into Friday, and overnight lows will barely stay above zero.
The high’s center will move over Rhode Island early Saturday, and then offshore. This will allow for two separate low pressure systems to merge their moisture and energy together. The northern low over the Great Lakes will then bring us the chance for more snow showers by the evening commute on Saturday. We would see moderate to possible heavy snow during the overnight hours, before the snow quickly ends by Sunday morning. Temperatures may actually go above freezing, before the cold front pushes through, and quickly puts temperatures below freezing by the early afternoon.
72 hour forecast:
Tonight: Clear skies, breezy, and extremely cold. We will see the mercury fall to -2 degrees with winds from the northwest at 20-25 mph. This will create wind chill temperatures of 20 to 25 below zero.
Monday: Mostly sunny and windy with the high only reaching 17. Winds will remain from the northwest at 15-20 mph.
Monday night: increasing clouds and still bitterly cold with a low of 3. Winds will decrease to 2-5 mph from the north-northwest.
Tuesday: Overcast with light snow starting by 5 a.m., and becoming light to moderate by 1 p.m. We will see a high of 20.
Tuesday night: Light snow ends by 7 p.m. but remaining mostly cloudy. We will see a low of 13. Three to five inches is possible at this time.
Wednesday: Overcast with light snow starting by 5 p.m. We will see a high of 27.
Wednesday night: Snow showers end by 2 a.m. but remaining mostly cloudy. We will see a low of 7.
Thursday: Partly sunny. Highs 17-20, lows 0-3.
Friday: Mostly sunny. Highs 14-17, lows 1-4.
Saturday: Partly sunny by mid-morning, with overcast skies by the early afternoon. Light snow showers begins by 5 p.m. Highs 21-24, lows 12-15.
Sunday: Light to moderate snow ends by 8 a.m. Partly sunny skies expected for the rest of the day. Highs 32-35, lows 17-20.