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Providence weather: Clouds and passing snow/rain showers for Sunday

The weather map for Southern New England at 1 p.m. EST on February 23, 2014. Passing rain showers are expected by the early evening.
The weather map for Southern New England at 1 p.m. EST on February 23, 2014. Passing rain showers are expected by the early evening.

Forecast discussion: A strong high pressure system off the Mid-Atlantic coast helped to bring southwest winds and above average temperatures to Providence on Saturday. However, temperatures did get below freezing early Saturday morning, causing a lot of drivers to slip and slide on the roadways due to black ice. I even saw two cars (one coming on and one off) interstate 95 hit snow packs off on the side of the ramps due to black ice. Temperatures should stay above freezing in the city, but north and west of the capital may once again see black ice form from the melting snow pack.

High temperature forecast for February 23, 2014

We will see increasing clouds on Sunday, as a weak cold front moves slowly to the east. This front will shift our winds to the northwest by the evening, and will bring some isolated rain showers in the early evening. As the front passes, we will see the front trigger some snow showers, but the activity will not last very long. By Monday morning, a coating to an inch will be on the ground. If there are any snow bands that train through certain areas, two to even three inches is possible.

Unlike the previous storm, we will not be seeing a thaw. In fact, we will see a similar version of the polar vortex return to the east coast. Unlike the previous one, temperatures will not be as cold. However, temperatures will be well below normal for this time of the year. The average temperature right now is about 42 degrees during the day, and 28 at night. We will only see temperatures in the lower teens during the overnight, with highs not even making it to 30 degrees.

Also, I am watching the computer models very carefully for more snow on Wednesday. Right now, the computer models form a low off the North Carolina coastline, as well as a weaker secondary low over northern New York. The second low will help trigger some snow showers for us. However, it is still unclear if the low will stay close enough to the coast to help influence our weather. The American and European models take the low out to sea. Also, the models tend to forecast this way, as it is trying to take the climatology into effect for this time of the year.

High pressure ridging will build in from the west, giving us dry weather for Thursday and Friday. However, with the jet stream beginning to split, the early forecast for next Saturday calls for more light snow, as a weak low pressure system from the south helps brings moisture up into New England. At this time, my forecast for next Saturday remains low, as the computer models are all disagreeing on how to handle the forecast.

72 hour forecast:

Tonight: Clear skies until midnight, with partly cloudy skies into dawn. We will see a low of 34. Areas north and west of Providence may see black ice.
Sunday: Partly sunny by the afternoon, with isolated rain showers by 6 p.m. and a high of 49. Winds will come from the west-southwest at 5-8 mph.
Sunday night: Mostly cloudy with passing snow showers and a low of 29. Winds will shift to the northwest and increase to 7-10 mph before dawn.
Monday: Mostly cloudy and breezy with snow showers ending by mid-morning. Mostly sunny skies expected the rest of the day. It will be colder with a high of 33. Total snowfall amounts will be a coating to an inch. Isolated areas of 2 inches expected in snow bands.
Monday night: Mostly cloudy with a low of 18.
Tuesday: Partly sunny with a high of 30.
Tuesday night: Mostly cloudy with a low of 19.

Extended Forecast:
Wednesday: Cloudy with light to moderate snow by the late morning, ending by the early evening. Highs 29-32, lows 11-14.
Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny skies. Highs 24-27, lows 10-13.
Friday: Mostly sunny. Highs 25-28, lows 10-13.
Saturday: Cloudy with light to moderate snow starting by the late morning. Highs 28-31, lows 19-22.

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