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Providence weather: Wednesday rain, Thursday snow

The weather map for Southern New England at 2 p.m. EDT on March 12, 2014.
The weather map for Southern New England at 2 p.m. EDT on March 12, 2014.

Forecast discussion: A warm front pushed through Southern New England on Tuesday. You probably noticed it when you went outside around Providence. Partly sunny skies eventually became mostly sunny skies. This helped drive the mercury higher than forecast. I went with a high of 54, and already at T.F. Green the high for the day is 61. However, within 36 hours, we will be seeing snow.

High temperature forecast for March 12, 2014

A frontal boundary to our south will be moving northward. A low pressure system over western Arkansas at the moment will bring increasing clouds during the overnight. Then, by Wednesday morning, we will begin to see some rain showers. We will be seeing rain because the low will be to our south and west. This will keep us in the warmer sector of the storm. So, we will remain as rain throughout the day. Moderate to heavy rain is possible during the evening commute, so please take precautions when driving. Also, we may see street flooding, due to the storm drains not able to keep up with the rainfall. I’m expecting a half inch to an inch of rainfall before midnight.

As we move into early Thursday, the cold front will begin to push through, and our temperatures will be falling through Wednesday afternoon. We should see a mix of sleet and snow by around midnight, before changing over to all snow before the start of the morning commute. I am not expecting heavy snowfall amounts, as the heaviest precipitation will be over Northern New England. At this time, a dusting to as much as 3 inches is possible. The heaviest amounts will probably be north and west of Providence. It will also be quite windy, with wind gusts as high as 35 mph.

Things will begin to calm down during Thursday night, as the winds diminish slightly, and high pressure ridging helps to clear our skies. However, it will be quite cold for the middle of March. We may be close to breaking an all-time record for low temperature. We will feel winter again on Friday, as temperatures only reach the middle 30’s for highs. By Saturday, warmer air will once again reach Rhode Island, as highs rise into the upper 40’s to lower 50’s. We may see some showers during Saturday afternoon, before ending as a snow shower early Sunday morning.

We will begin next week with partly to mostly sunny skies. Monday looks dry for now, but the European model wants to develop a low pressure system off the coast of North Carolina. This low would then bring possible snow and/or rain showers to the area. For now, I will keep us dry, as only one of the four models I use is showing precipitation. We will remain well below normal for high temperatures going into the middle of next week, thanks to a deep upper level trough bringing down cold Arctic air to the eastern U.S.

72 hour forecast:

Tonight: Becoming cloudy after midnight with a low of 36.
Wednesday: Cloudy with showers starting by 7 a.m. Showers will become moderate to heavy rain by the mid-afternoon. Winds will be increasing into the evening. We will see a high of 48. Winds will come from the east-southeast at 10-13 mph during the afternoon. Patchy fog is possible during the afternoon.
Wednesday night: Windy with moderate to heavy rain changing over to a mix of sleet and snow around 2 a.m. before becoming all snow by 4 a.m. We will have a low of 25 with winds shifting to the northwest at 15-20 mph.
Thursday: Windy with light snow tapering off by 2 p.m. before ending around 5 p.m. We will see a high of 26. A dusting to 2 inches of snow is what I am expecting.
Thursday night: Clear skies by midnight and breezy with a low of 13.
Friday: Mostly sunny with winds diminishing. We will see a high of 36.
Friday night: Increasing clouds with a low of 28.

Extended Forecast:
Saturday: Mostly cloudy with possible showers by the early afternoon. Highs 48-51, lows 27-30.
Sunday: Cloudy with a possible snow shower during the early morning, before ending by 6 a.m. Partly to mostly sunny skies expected for the rest of the day. Highs 40-43, lows 23-26.
Monday: Mostly sunny. Highs 34-37, lows 19-22.
Tuesday: Partly sunny. Highs 32-35, lows 20-23.

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