Forecast discussion: A severe storm that has brought snow, ice, and rain to much of the Southeast U.S. is beginning to work its way along the east coast. The primary low over western Florida is weakening, as a new low off the coast of North Carolina begins the process of becoming the stronger low for Thursday and Friday.
We have been talking about this system for Providence for the last few days. As of now, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for all of Rhode Island, except Providence County. They are under a Winter Weather Advisory. The warnings are in effect from 7 a.m. Thursday until 7 a .m. Friday. For school cancellations, parking bans, and work closings, click here.
This storm will look and feel like the previous storm in the beginning. Snowfall should begin between 4 and 6 a.m. Thursday morning. Everyone will begin as snow, and it could become heavy at times. There is a small chance of seeing 1-2 inch per hour snowfall during the commute. As warmer air off the ocean moves over the state, the precipitation will begin to change over to different types. The south coast will mostly change to rain, while between Warwick and Providence the precipitation changes to sleet. By 1 p.m., everyone south and east of Providence will see a wintry mix or change to all rain. Also, as the afternoon progresses, winds will be increasing from the northeast. Gusts up to 50 mph are possible, so there may be scattered power outages. We will remain all rain until the late evening, as colder air returns over the state. The rain will change back to snow early Friday morning, before the start of the afternoon. Look at my slideshow photo for snowfall totals for Rhode Island.
Once we get past Friday afternoon, a new low pressure system will form over the New York-Pennsylvania border early Saturday morning. The low will actually move south of Southern New England, but we will see a few snow showers, starting early Saturday morning, and ending by the middle of the afternoon. Snowfall amounts will be a coating to an inch.
As we head into earl next week, high pressure will give us a reprieve from any precipitation. However, it will be very cold, as temperatures drop into the single digits once again Sunday night. We will see sunshine on Monday, with increasing clouds through the afternoon. A weak cold front will pass through the region, seeing snow showers Monday night, but changing to rain by Tuesday morning. We will also see temperatures be slightly above normal, as the jet stream shows a more zonal, or west to east, flow. We will see a slight thaw, as possible precipitation Wednesday evening will remain showers and light rain.
72 hour forecast:
Tonight: Cloudy skies with light snow falling by 4 a.m. We will see a low of 22.
Thursday: Light to moderate snow during the morning commute. Snow changes to sleet and then rain along the south coast up to Warwick by 10 a.m. This changeover occurs into Providence by 1 p.m. The area north and west of Providence will see a change by 4 p.m. We will see a high of 37 with winds increasing from the northeast at 19-24 mph with occasional gusts of 40 mph.
Thursday night: Windy with rain changing back to snow by 1 a.m. across the entire state. We will have a low of 31 with north-northwest winds of 20-25 mph with gusts of 40 mph.
Friday: Light snow and snow showers end by 11 a.m. or noon. Partly sunny skies expected the rest of the day. We will see a high of 39 with winds decreasing through the afternoon.
Friday night: Mostly cloudy with snow showers possible by 4 a.m. and a low of 25.
Saturday: Mostly cloudy with scattered snow showers ending by 2 p.m. We will see a high of 35.
Saturday night: Partly cloudy with a low of 14.
Sunday: Mostly sunny. Highs 25-28, lows 8-11.
Monday: Partly to mostly sunny with possible light snow before midnight. Highs 28-31, lows 21-24.
Tuesday: Light snow/rain possible in the morning, ending in the mid-afternoon. Highs 40-43, lows 26-29.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny through the early afternoon, but turning cloudy with possible showers by the evening. Highs 40-43, lows 33-36.