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Providence weather: What can we expect for Thursday's storm?

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Forecast discussion: A strong high pressure system over the eastern Great Lakes will give Providence clear skies Tuesday night. However, it will also keep a cold dome of air over the Northeast U.S. Low temperatures during the overnight will fall into the single digits. Any wind will create wind chills below zero.

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The high will continue to give us dry weather through Wednesday. We will begin to see increasing clouds through the evening commute. This is due to an impending low pressure system already creating havoc for the Southern U.S. It will bring snow, freezing rain, and sleet from Mississippi to North Carolina. Then, the low will move out into the Atlantic, and become an old fashioned Nor’Easter.

So, what can we expect from this system? Well, snow is definitely in the forecast. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for most of Rhode Island with the exception of Newport County from 7 a.m. Thursday until 7 p.m. Snow will begin to fall in the capital city just before the start of the morning commute. We could see bands of heavy snow, with visibilities lowering to half a mile. Now comes the tricky part. The low will allow warmer air to come into the area, so the precipitation will begin to change over. As we move from the coastline north, there will be rain along the coast to Warwick, to a mix of snow and sleet up to Providence, by the early afternoon. By we reach the evening, all the precipitation will change back to snow, before ending early Friday morning.

In terms of snowfall amounts, I feel the coastline will see an inch or two, before changing to rain. Within Providence County, we could see around 3-6 inches. Finally, north and west of Providence will see the most snow, with about 6-12 inches. However, the difference of the low’s center moving 30 miles east or west could greatly change this forecast. So, come back tomorrow night for any further updates.

We will see limited sunshine by Friday afternoon, with the chance of more snow showers for a small period of time Saturday morning. Right now, the American and United Kingdom models keep the low to our south as it passes into the Atlantic. A strong high pressure system will bring cold, dry weather on Sunday and for part of Monday. A new low developing off the coast of North Carolina will bring the risk of some snow Monday night, before a mix of rain and snow is possible next Tuesday.

72 hour forecast:

Tonight: Clear skies and bitterly cold with a low of 5.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny with increasing clouds by the evening commute. We will see a high of 26 with winds turning to the east-southeast at 5-8 mph by the early afternoon.
Wednesday night: Overcast skies with light snow starting around 4 a.m. We will see a low of 21 with easterly winds at 3-6 mph.
Thursday: Moderate snow by the morning commute. Snow could come down at 1-2 inches per hour, and lower visibilities. Winds will be increasing through the afternoon. By the late morning, the south coast to Providence will turn to rain, and north of Providence will see snow mixing with sleet. We will see a high of 36.
Thursday night: Windy with sleet or rain changes back to snow showers by 11 p.m. Snow ends by 4 a.m. We will see a low of 31.
Friday: Partly sunny with a high of 40.
Friday night: Mostly cloudy with snow showers possible by 1 a.m. and a low of 27.

Extended Forecast:
Saturday: Mostly cloudy with scattered snow showers ending by noon. Highs 34-37, lows 13-16.
Sunday: Mostly sunny. Highs 24-27, lows 9-12.
Monday: Partly to mostly sunny with possible light snow in the evening. Highs 30-33, lows 19-22.
Tuesday: Light snow/rain possible in the morning, ending in the afternoon. Highs 39-42, lows 17-20.

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