Forecast discussion: At the moment, a strong high pressure system is centered over eastern Pennsylvania. The high will move right over the region this evening, creating clear skies and light winds. With this, we will see radiational cooling, allowing temperatures to fall to about 0-5 degrees for northern Rhode Island. As we head into the new month of March, we will still be seeing weather like February.
It will begin by tomorrow afternoon. A weak area of low pressure in the Central Plains will pick up moisture from the Ohio River Valley, and bring it east. We may see some passing snow showers by 1 p.m.; otherwise, partly sunny skies in the morning become overcast. The weak area will develop into a low pressure center, but after the system passes to our east. As we sleep into Monday morning, the snow will become more intense. We could see an inch per hour in some isolated areas. Due to this system, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for all of Rhode Island from 12 p.m. Sunday until 7 a.m. Monday.
So, what can we expect from this storm? Right now, I believe northern Rhode Island will see 4-6 inches. An area from East Greenwich down to North Kingston to eastern South Kingston to southern Charleston and Westerly will see 2-4 inches. To view the snowfall map, click here. The snowfall will come to an end in time for the morning commute, with snow showers and flurries lingering for a few more hours. High pressure will build in behind the low, providing us with dry conditions into early Tuesday afternoon.
A low pressure system forming out of the Four Corner States early Tuesday will help bring more moisture towards the east coast by Tuesday evening. However, this time the low’s center stays well west of the region. So, we will actually be on the warm side of the low. Now, the precipitation will begin as light snow Tuesday night, thanks to the cold air still within the upper levels of the atmosphere. But, the lower levels will become warmer, and our precipitation will slowly convert. We will see light snow at first, then change over to freezing rain, and then to rain by Wednesday morning. In fact, we may see periods of heavy rain Wednesday morning. Slowly, the rain will taper to showers, before all precipitation ends by the late afternoon. We will definitely see melting snow, along with slushy conditions. Look out for street flooding, as snow may still be covering storm drains.
Colder air behind the front will help bring well below normal temperatures back for Thursday. Also, we may see more precipitation return. The models believe a low pressure system off the North Carolina coastline will ride up along the front, helping to bring more frozen precipitation back to the state. At this time, I am thinking a wintry mix, as temperatures do stay above freezing during the daytime. The precipitation comes to an end before temperatures tumble into the lower teens Thursday night.
We will end the first full week of March with dry weather, but temperatures still stay below normal. I am only expecting high temperatures in the middle to upper 20’s on Friday, and near freezing next Saturday. Based on climatology, we should be seeing an average high of about 44 degrees.
72 hour forecast:
Tonight: Partly cloudy with a low of 4.
Sunday: Partial sunshine in the morning gives way to overcast skies during the afternoon. Snow showers are possible by 1 p.m. We will see a high of 30 with winds shifting to the southwest at 5-8 mph.
Sunday night: Light snow by 7 p.m. with moderate to heavy periods of snow by 11 p.m. Snow may come down at an inch per hour. Visibilities may be reduced. We will see a low of 27 with southwest winds at 5-8 mph.
Monday: Moderate snow ends by 5 a.m. Snow showers/flurries will end by 9 a.m. At this time, 4-6 inches is possible for the capital city, with 2-4 inches for southeastern Rhode Island. We will see a high of 36 with temperatures falling during the afternoon and increasing winds. Expect partly cloudy skies by the early afternoon.
Monday night: Partly cloudy with a low of 13.
Tuesday: Partly sunny through mid-morning, with overcast skies by the mid-afternoon. Snow showers may arrive by 5 p.m. We will see a high of 33.
Tuesday night: Light snow by 8 p.m. with a low of 27.
Wednesday: Snow changes to freezing rain and then rain during the early morning. Rain becomes moderate to heavy by 4 a.m. The precipitation tapers by late morning, with showers ending by 3 p.m. Mostly cloudy skies expected the rest of the day. Highs 41-44, lows 29-32.
Thursday: Cloudy with snow/sleet by mid-morning. Snow/sleet/freezing rain ends by 8 p.m. Highs 32-35, lows 12-15.
Friday: Partly to mostly sunny. Highs 25-28, lows 12-15.
Saturday: Mostly sunny during the day, with increasing clouds by the early evening. Highs 32-35, lows 17-20.