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Providence weather: Light rain Wednesday night into Thursday

The weather map for Southern New England at 2 p.m. EDT on March 20, 2014, the first day of spring. Partly to mostly sunny skies are expected.
The weather map for Southern New England at 2 p.m. EDT on March 20, 2014, the first day of spring. Partly to mostly sunny skies are expected.

Forecast discussion: Providence started Wednesday with mostly sunny skies, thanks to a ridge of high pressure to our east. However, that ridge began to break down, as a low pressure system over Michigan moves east. Clouds took over the skies by the early afternoon, and we are awaiting some showers to begin during the evening. Northwest Rhode Island may even see a few wet snowflakes at first, before changing over to rain. We will see light to moderate rain into Thursday morning, before the low moves offshore. Drier air will begin to clear our skies to begin the first day of spring, and it will definitely feel that way. Temperatures will climb into the lower 50’s by the afternoon.

High temperature forecast for March 20, 2014

We will see dry weather through Friday, but the clouds will begin to return through the afternoon. We will see cloudy skies Friday night, as a weak area of low pressure brings some wet snow by late Saturday morning. The warmer air will eventually turn it to showers, and all precipitation will end by the late afternoon. After the cold front passes through, we will not be seeing those springtime temperatures going into next week. Arctic air will come down from Canada and make it feel like January once again by Monday.

As of right now, the long range models are only seeing temperatures reach freezing during the daytime on Monday. The mercury will fall into the middle to upper teens by Monday night. As we move into Tuesday, I will be watching the models very carefully. Right now, the American model has us seeing some light snow showers, as a weak low over New York brings moisture over New England. A much stronger low forms east of Florida, and moves slowly out to sea. However, the European model wants to form a Nor’easter, and bring some pretty significant snowfall late Tuesday into early Wednesday. Right now, my confidence in the forecast after Monday night is very low, due to the completely different scenarios the models are giving me at this moment.

72 hour forecast:

Tonight: Cloudy with showers arriving after 9 p.m. Northwest Rhode Island may see some wet snowflakes before changing over. Showers increase to light rain around 1 a.m. We will see a low of 36.
Thursday: Light rain ends by 11 a.m. with partly to mostly sunny skies and breezy the rest of the day. It will be milder with a high of 54 with winds shifting to the west-southwest at 13-16 mph.
Thursday night: Partly cloudy and a low of 32. Winds will come from the west-southwest at 8-11 mph.
Friday: Mostly sunny through the morning, with cloudy skies by around sunset. We will have a high of 47.
Friday night: Mostly cloudy with a low of 31.
Saturday: Wet snow showers by 10 a.m. turning over to rain showers before noon. Showers end by 5 p.m. We will have a high of 50.
Saturday night: Partly to mostly cloudy with a low of 31.

Extended Forecast:
Sunday: Partly sunny. Highs 42-45, lows 18-21.
Monday: Mostly sunny and quite cold. Highs 31-34, lows 16-19.
Tuesday: Partly sunny with light snow by the early evening. Highs 34-37, lows 24-27.
Wednesday: Cloudy with light snow showers. Highs 35-38, lows 25-28.

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