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Providence weather forecast for Jan. 3, 2014

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Forecast discussion: After a frontal boundary brought us about an inch or two of snow in Rhode Island, New England is bracing for a Nor’easter Thursday night, followed by bitterly cold temperatures Friday evening into Saturday. Milder temperatures are in store for early next week.

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At this time, a low pressure system has developed and is beginning to intensify off the coast of Maryland. Current radar shows some light snow over northern and central Rhode Island as of 8:30 p.m. However, southern Rhode Island is already seeing moderate to sometimes heavy bands. Also, strong winds are beginning to appear on the Cape, as buoy reports show winds of 25-30 mph off Boston Harbor. Seas are already at about 12-15 feet.

For Rhode Island, we are currently under a Winter Storm Warning until 10 a.m. Friday morning. Several cities and towns have parking bans in effect, and several towns have cancelled school. Some churches and many businesses have also closed for tomorrow. To see a complete list of closings, click here.

Some parts of the state will be seeing snowfall tonight at about an inch per hour in heavier snow bands. Also, winds will be increasing, so we will be seeing blowing and drifting snow. So, if you absolutely have to travel by car tonight, please be extra careful. Give yourself extra time to make it to your destination.

By the time Providence wakes up, we should see anywhere from 8-12 inches on the ground. However, if you go from Warwick south, you will only see about 5-8 inches. However, as you shovel and blow you way out of the driveway, please dress in layers. Wind chills will make it feel like 15-20 below in the morning, and high temperatures will only make it into the lower teens. By Friday night, it will be just bone chilling cold, as temperatures will plummet below zero. We may even break a record for Friday night, as the all-time low was 1 degree in 1981.

By Saturday, it will feel downright balmy, as high pressure brings mostly sunny skies and high temperatures will reach the upper 20’s. By Sunday, southwest winds will help bring milder air back to Rhode Island, as temperatures climb into the lower 40’s. But, we will see another round of precipitation, albeit it will be rain. The rain showers may change over to snow showers by Monday afternoon, as a cold front passes through the state. We will once again see bitterly cold air behind the front move over the region.

We will see dry weather for Tuesday and Wednesday, with temperatures only in the 20’s. By next Thursday, a weak low pressure system will bring some possible snow showers by the evening.

72 hour forecast:

Tonight: Moderate to heavy snow bands, creating snowfall of one inch per hour at times. Winds will be increasing through the night, with 22-27 mph in Providence. We will see a low of 9, with visibility near zero at times.
Friday: Moderate snow through the early morning, turning lighter by mid-morning. All snowfall ends by about 2 p.m. We will see partly sunny skies the rest of the daytime. Winds will diminish through the day. I’m expecting 8-12 inches in northern Rhode Island, and 5-8 inches from Warwick south to the coast. Winds will be from the northwest at 14-18 mph, with a high of 14. Wind chills will make it feel like 10-15 below zero.
Friday night: Clear skies and bitterly cold with the mercury falling to one below zero. Winds will diminish from the west-northwest at 2-5 mph.
Saturday: Mostly sunny and warmer with a high of 27.
Saturday night: Partly cloudy and much warmer with a low of 22.
Sunday: Mostly cloudy with rain showers by the late afternoon. We will see a high of 41.
Sunday night: Light to moderate rain with a low of 36.

Extended Forecast:
Monday: Rain/showers ending by the early evening. With the cold front passing by the afternoon, precipitation could end as snow showers. Highs 47-50, lows 15-18.
Tuesday: Partly to mostly sunny and much colder. Highs 21-24, lows 7-10.
Wednesday: Partly sunny with possible ocean effect snow showers along the Cape and Islands during the early morning. Highs 24-27, lows 12-15.
Thursday: Partly sunny until the early afternoon, with possible snow showers by the evening. Highs 35-38, lows 21-24.

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