Forecast discussion: As we inch closer to seeing two weather systems bring some very good snowfall to Rhode Island, the state and national government is already taking precautions. Parking bans are already in effect, and some schools have decided to close. For those updates, click here.
The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for all of Southern New England, starting at 4 a.m. Thursday. This means we are definitely expecting at least 6 inches of snow in most of the state. At this time, we are awaiting a frontal boundary to move towards New England. It will bring some reinforced cold air for tomorrow night, while moisture along another frontal boundary will begin our snowfall around 1 to 3 a.m. We will see light to at times moderate snow on Thursday. There may be some periods of time where there is a lull, with no snow falling. By the end of the evening commute, areas should see 1-3 inches on the ground.
The heavier snowfall and more inclement weather will come Thursday night into Friday morning. A low pressure system will begin to develop early Thursday morning in the Mid-Atlantic, and move off to the south and east of Rhode Island. We will see moderate to heavy snow, and winds will be increasing. The Massachusetts coast, along with the Cape and Islands, will see blowing and drifting snow, along with visibility reducing down to zero. A Blizzard Warning may still be issued for the area, but at this time the criteria does not call for it.
The snowfall will begin to lessen during Friday morning, and winds will diminish as the low moves further away from the area during the afternoon. At this time, I see northern Rhode Island seeing a total of 8-12 inches, while the area from Warwick south will see 4-8 inches. After the storm, the next major weather factor will be cold temperatures Friday night. With highs only reaching the lower teens on Friday, low temperatures will be falling to near zero degrees.
By Saturday, high pressure will build over New England, bringing sunshine, and southwest winds. This will help bring milder air to the region, as temperatures jump into the upper 30’s to lower 40’s by Sunday.
The next weather system will be a slow moving cold front in the central part of the country. We will start off as rain showers, but may see a wintry mix or changeover to snow showers Sunday night. The precipitation will turn back to rain by Monday morning. A high pressure system will bring back colder air by Tuesday, as high temperatures fall back into the 20’s.
72 hour forecast:
Tonight: Overcast with snow showers developing around 1 a.m. We will see a low of 19.
Thursday: Cloudy with light to moderate snow and increased winds with a high of 27. Winds will come from the north-northeast at 11-14 mph. 1-3 inches of snow is possible after the evening commute.
Thursday night: Moderate to heavy snow and strong winds with a low of 11. Winds will increase to 22-27 mph from the north-northeast with gusts near 35 mph. This will cause blowing and drifting snow. Wind chills will make it feel like 15 to 20 below zero. Another 4-8 inches will fall during the time period.
Friday: Moderate snow through the early morning, turning lighter by mid-morning. All snowfall ends by the mid-afternoon. Winds will diminish through the day. We will see a high of 14. A total of 8-12 inches is expected for Providence, with 4-8 inches from Warwick to the south coast.
Friday night: Clear skies and bitterly cold with the mercury falling to zero.
Saturday: Mostly sunny and warmer with a high of 22.
Saturday night: Partly cloudy with a low of 19.
Sunday: Mostly cloudy with rain showers by the late afternoon. Showers may mix or change over to snow showers by midnight. Highs 39-42, lows 32-35.
Monday: Rain showers by dawn ending by noon. Mostly cloudy skies expected for the rest of the day. Highs 42-45, lows 19-22.
Tuesday: Partly to mostly sunny. Highs 26-29, lows 10-13.
Wednesday: Partly sunny with possible ocean effect snow showers along the Cape and Islands during the early morning. Highs 21-24, lows 7-10.