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Providence weather: Rain and warmth changing to snow and cold

The weather map for Southern New England at 2 p.m. EDT on March 14, 2014.
The weather map for Southern New England at 2 p.m. EDT on March 14, 2014.

Forecast discussion: A low pressure system over eastern Pennsylvania has brought mild weather to Providence, thanks to the warm front associated with it. However, colder air will begin to move over the region as the cold front passes through during the overnight. It will change the precipitation from the moderate to heavy rain we are seeing now to sleet past midnight, and then to light snow around 3 a.m.

High temperature forecast for March 13, 2014

During the overnight, we will have a Winter Weather Advisory in effect for Kent and Providence Counties from 10 p.m. until noon Thursday. This is due to the frozen precipitation we will receive in the early morning on Thursday. Temperatures will also be dropping rapidly. Before dawn, low temperatures will fall into the lower 20’s. We will be experiencing what is known as a flash freeze. Although it sounds like something out of Magic: the Gathering, it really is a meteorological term. It comes from Environment Canada, their version of the National Weather Service. It is defined as temperatures falling from above freezing to below freezing within a three hour time period. This will cause any wet pavement to become frozen over. So, please take extreme precaution during the morning commute, as traction will be poor on secondary roads and untreated parts of the highway.

We may see anywhere between a coating of snow to as high as 2 inches, probably north and west of Providence. Snow will end around 2 p.m. and become just flurries until the evening commute. By then, a strong high pressure system over the central U.S. will clear our skies. However, temperatures Thursday night may break an all-time record, set back in 1948. We will then see milder temperatures Friday night, thanks to cloudy skies and warmer air coming from the south. We may see highs reach 50 degrees on Saturday.

By the start of next week, Arctic air will once again reign down on New England, dropping our high temperatures to near freezing by Monday. Also, I am watching a possible low pressure system forming in the Southeast Gulf of Mexico, and moving along the coastline up towards New England. The Canadian and European models show the low bringing us some snow on Monday, although the American and United Kingdom models push the low out to sea. For now, I will keep light snow in the forecast.

We will be dry on Tuesday, before another fast moving low brings some early morning snow showers, before changing to rain showers by the early afternoon. Temperatures will be climbing upward as we head into Wednesday, reaching the lower 40’s.

72 hour forecast:

Tonight: Moderate rain changing to sleet and freezing rain around midnight, before changing to light snow at 2:30 a.m. Winds will be increasing as well. We will have a low of 20.
Thursday: Windy with light snow tapering off by 2 p.m. before ending around 5 p.m. We will see a high of 23. A dusting to 2 inches of snow is what I am expecting north of Warwick, with a coating south of Warwick. Winds will come from the northwest at 23-28 mph with gusts of 40 mph.
Thursday night: Clear skies by midnight, breezy, and very cold with a low of 11. Winds will come from the west-northwest at 8-11 mph.
Friday: Mostly sunny and warmer with a high of 37.
Friday night: Increasing clouds with a low of 32.
Saturday: Mostly cloudy with possible showers by the late morning. It will be milder with a high of 50.
Saturday night: Mostly cloudy with a low of 30.

Extended Forecast:
Sunday: Cloudy skies in the early morning becoming mostly sunny skies and breezy by the late morning. Highs 40-43, lows 21-24.
Monday: Cloudy with possible light snow. Highs 31-34, lows 18-21.
Tuesday: Partly sunny. Highs 33-36, lows 22-25.
Wednesday: Becoming cloudy with snow showers by the early morning. Precipitation becomes rain by the early afternoon, and ending by 4 p.m. Highs 41-44, lows 27-30.