Forecast discussion: We have had a cornucopia of weather over the last 24 hours here in Providence. During the early morning on Saturday, the low temperature fell to -5 degrees at T.F. Green. This broke the previous record set back on February 21 of -3 back in 1950. In fact, it has not been this cold in Rhode Island since the middle of January, 2004, when the low temperature was -6 degrees.
However, the cold air is slowly giving way to southerly winds and temperatures have actually gone above freezing as of 7 p.m. But, it has remained cold enough for light snow to fall, starting around 4 p.m. in the capital city. The state is under a Winter Weather Advisory until 1 p.m. Sunday. As we move into the overnight, north and west of Providence will see moderate snow, as snowfall totals will reach 4-6 inches during the overnight. However, the totals will lower as you head south. This is due to another low pressure system from the Ohio River Valley, which will bring warmer air at the lower levels of the atmosphere. This will help change the precipitation from snow to freezing rain. This will begin around midnight, and move south to north. By 3 a.m., temperatures will be warm enough to make the precipitation fall as rain. Moderate to heavy rain is possible until 9 a.m., so streets may become flooded, as storm drains remain blocked with snow. Also, patchy fog is possible, as the warmer air moves over the snow packs. I am expecting 2-4 inches in Providence, with 1-2 inches along the south shore. For a snowfall map, click here.
Temperatures will not remain warm for very long. After the cold front passes through by the late afternoon, the mercury will plunge back down into the lower teens Sunday night. This will cause any puddles in the street and slush to re-freeze. So, please take extreme precaution for the morning commute on Monday, as there will be ice and black ice everywhere.
We will have dry weather into Tuesday evening, thanks in part to a strong high pressure system still in western Canada at the moment. But, this high will once again bring down another shot of polar air, as overnight lows Monday night fall back to near 5 below zero. Some sunshine Tuesday helps to increase our high temperatures near 20 on Tuesday. Increasing clouds from an Alberta Clipper system keeps lows temperatures Tuesday night into the lower teens.
Over the last two days, the computer models have been disagreeing on whether this Alberta Clipper or developing low off North Carolina would become our main weather feature. Well, it appears the models have come to a consensus. All the models now agree that the Alberta Clipper will pass through New England late Tuesday night into Wednesday. This means we will see light snow showers throughout the time period. So, we will see some added snowfall totals, but not to the extreme that a possible Nor’Easter was expected to give us earlier in the week.
Sadly, there appears to be no thaw ahead of us, even as we come to the end of February. A strong high pressure system will keep any low pressure systems developing in the Southeast U.S. from coming north. High temperatures will only be in the lower 20’s Thursday and Friday, with overnight lows in the single digits. We could see a weak cold front bring some light snow late next Saturday night.
72 hour forecast:
Tonight: Light to moderate snow beginning to mix with freezing rain around 11 p.m. from south to north. Freezing rain will mix or change over to rain by 3 a.m. We will see a low of 32.
Sunday: Rain, moderate at times, will taper off through the morning. We will see a high of 38 with winds turning to the northwest at 3-6 mph. Patchy fog is possible by mid-morning. Drizzle is possible during the early afternoon.
Sunday night: Clear skies and much colder with a low of 11. Winds will come from the northwest at 7-10 mph.
Monday: Mostly sunny with a high of 15.
Monday night: Partly cloudy and bitterly cold once again with a low of -4.
Tuesday: Mostly sunny during the morning, with increasing clouds during the afternoon. We will see a high of 20.
Tuesday night: Light snow showers by midnight with a low of 14.
Wednesday: Light snow showers end by 8 p.m. Highs 30-33, lows 11-14.
Thursday: Mostly sunny. Highs 20-23, lows 4-7.
Friday: Mostly sunny. Highs 20-23, lows 5-8.
Saturday: Partly sunny with possible light snow before midnight. Highs 25-28, lows 13-16.