Forecast discussion: A strong low pressure system helped bring another 4-6 inches of snowfall to Rhode Island early Monday morning. As we moved through the day, temperatures were above freezing, helping to melt some of that snowfall. However, a cold front passing through this afternoon helped create gusty northwest winds, and create some blowing snow for people on the secondary streets. As we head into this evening, the front will move offshore, allowing for some slightly colder air to return. Overnight lows will only fall into the middle teens. But, as we move through the week, we will have two opportunities at receiving more snowfall.
Thanks to high pressure passing into the Mid-Atlantic States, it will not be tonight. We will see some sunshine Tuesday morning, but a low pressure system staying over the Four Corners will begin to make its impact on us. We will see increasing cloud cover ahead of the system by mid-morning, with overcast skies by the early afternoon. Because temperatures in the atmosphere are below freezing, the precipitation will start off as snow, and should arrive by the evening commute. There is the slight chance of seeing an inch per hour before midnight, before warmer air from the south begins to pull northward. So, after midnight, snow will slowly change over to a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain. This will create headaches for city works departments, as they try to sand down the roads before Wednesday’s morning commute. We may see 2-4 inches of new snow before the changeover, with a tenth of an inch of ice possible on top of that. Because of these conditions, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory in effect from 3 p.m. Tuesday until 10 a.m. Wednesday for all of Rhode Island.
As we move into Wednesday morning, enough warm air will reach the lower levels of the atmosphere, and help change the wintry mix to rain. Temperatures will also reach the lower 40’s, helping to melt what has already fallen. Rain should end by the mid-afternoon, but colder air will return, thanks in part to a strong high pressure system coming down from western Canada. Since the frontal boundary remains over the Southeast U.S., we will not be done with wintry weather just yet.
With colder air returning over the area, a new low pressure system will follow along the frontal boundary towards the northeast U.S. I am expecting freezing rain and sleet to return by midnight, before changing back to snow early Thursday morning. We can expect moderate snow through the daytime hours, and accumulations will be several inches. Snow begins to taper off right at the end of the evening commute.
It will be cold into Friday morning, so the snowfall will harden. Any slush and ponding in the streets will refreeze. We return to well below normal temperatures on Friday, before warmer air returns on Saturday. Although we will have limited sunshine, temperatures on Saturday will reach the middle to upper 30’s. As we head into early next week, some weak disturbances may create passing rain showers Sunday morning, with the risk of some snow showers next Monday.
72 hour forecast:
Tonight: Clear skies and not as cold with a low of 15.
Tuesday: Partly sunny through mid-morning, with overcast skies by the mid-afternoon. Snow showers may arrive by 6 p.m. We will see a high of 29. Winds start from the northwest and shift south-southwest by 3 p.m. at 5-8 mph.
Tuesday night: Moderate snow at first through 1 a.m., before mixing with sleet and freezing rain. We will see a low of 28 at midnight with temperatures rising through the overnight. I’m expecting 2-4 inches of new snowfall before snow changes to a wintry mix.
Wednesday: Sleet and freezing rain mixes with rain by 8 a.m. It becomes all rain by 9 a.m. and may be moderate at times. Rain tapers to showers by late morning, and ends by 2 p.m. We will see a high of 42.
Wednesday night: Overcast with freezing rain and sleet returning by midnight. The precipitation changes back to snow by 3 a.m. We will see a low of 25.
Thursday: Moderate snow before tapering off by 3 p.m. All snow ends by 7 p.m. We will see a high of 30.
Thursday night: Partly cloudy by dawn and a low of 11.
Friday: Mostly sunny. Highs 23-26, lows 15-18.
Saturday: Partly sunny. Highs 35-38, lows 22-25.
Sunday: Mostly cloudy with possible light rain showers, starting by mid-morning. Highs 37-40, lows 20-23.
Monday: Cloudy with possible snow showers by 4 p.m. Highs 34-37, lows 19-22.