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Providence weather: A wintry mix on Monday

The high temperatures for Southern New England on February 3, 2014.
The high temperatures for Southern New England on February 3, 2014.

Forecast discussion: For the third day in a row, Providence, and all of Rhode Island, experiences well above normal temperatures. On Sunday, it was the mildest day of the weekend, as T.F. Green Airport in Warwick reported a high temperature of 55 degrees. However, due to some light rain falling in central Rhode Island, temperatures are already falling into the middle 40’s.

Final snowfall totals on Monday, February 3, 2014's_Weather_Discussion

This is due to a cold front that has been slowly moving east. The front is just making its way over Rhode Island. There may be a brief shower over the next couple of hours. Otherwise, skies will remain cloudy, and temperatures tonight will be at freezing. A developing low pressure center along the front will help bring some snow showers to the coastline by about 2 a.m. Providence will see snow showers start a few hours before dawn. Along the coastline, the light snow may mix with some rain showers from time to time during the early afternoon. One to two inches is the most snowfall anyone in Rhode Island will see from this low, before it moves offshore by the end of the evening commute.

A weak high pressure center over the Central U.S. will bring partly to mostly sunny weather to begin Tuesday. By Tuesday night, a much stronger low pressure system over the Tennessee River Valley will have precipitation to the north of the low’s center. We will see light to moderate snow in the capital city a few hours before dawn. Despite the short time span, we could see 1-3 inches before the precipitation begins to mix and change over to sleet. By the late morning, temperatures will be warm enough to change the precipitation to all rain. However, rain may be heavy at times, and roads will be slick and slippery. As we head into the evening commute, colder air from behind the front will begin to move over the region. So, the precipitation will change back to sleet and then back to snow showers. All precipitation will end by midnight, with clearing skies. Any precipitation on the ground will become black ice, so please take precaution if you have to drive early Thursday morning.

The rest of the week looks dry, thanks to a very strong high pressure center. The high will sit over the Mid-Atlantic for a few days, before moving slowly to the southeast. Temperatures will be cold during the overnight hours on Thursday, thanks in part to any new snowfall on the ground. By Sunday night, there is the chance of another low pressure system in the Mid-Atlantic coast to bring another mix of wintry precipitation. However, at this time, the computer models are not agreeing on the low’s track or the center of the low’s location. Also, one model shows a secondary low forming well east of the primary low and it is this low which will bring the precipitation to our area. At this time, my confidence in the models after Sunday afternoon is very low.

Finally, in case you did not hear, the groundhog in Pennsylvania did see his shadow. The rule is if the groundhog sees his shadow, we will see six more weeks of winter.

72 hour forecast:

Tonight: Cloudy skies with a low of 31.
Monday: Snow showers start by 4 a.m. An inch of snow is possible in Providence, and one to two inches along the south coast. Along the coast, snow may mix with rain showers by the early afternoon. We will see a high of 36 with north-northeast winds of 7-10 mph.
Monday night: Partly cloudy with a low of 24. Winds will come from the north at 5-8 mph.
Tuesday: Mostly sunny with a high of 37.
Tuesday night: Moderate snow by 4 a.m. with 1-3 inches possible by the morning commute. We will see a low of 28.
Wednesday: Snow changes to sleet by mid-morning, then changing to rain by the late morning. Rain could be heavy at times. Rain changes to a wintry mix by the early afternoon. We will see a high of 37.
Wednesday night: Sleet/freezing rain changes back to snow showers by 5 p.m. before ending by midnight. We will see a low of 20.

Extended Forecast:
Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny. Highs 27-30, lows 12-15.
Friday: Mostly sunny. Highs 28-31, lows 16-19.
Saturday: Partly sunny. Highs 30-33, lows 18-21.
Sunday: Cloudy in the morning, with light snow in the late morning, with a wintry mix possible by the late evening. Highs 33-36, lows 29-32.

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