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Dave Epstein

There’s a wet weekend ahead but only a slim chance of snow

The probability of snow exceeding 3 inches from the weekend storm is highest over the mountains.
The probability of snow exceeding 3 inches from the weekend storm is highest over the mountains.

It’s been a very cold and dry week so far. Including Wednesday, temperatures have actually been below average for six of the past seven days.

This is definitely something we have not seen much of this winter and it might lead you to believe that our next storm system could actually be a snowy one.

In order for Southern New England to get a snowstorm, two things must be present: moisture and cold. There’s no doubt that we’re going to have plenty of moisture later this weekend, but we are going to lack the cold.

The long range forecasts have been remarkably good at predicting when a storm is going to reach the area, but the devil is in the details and as cold air retreats back into Canada over the next 48 hours it will leave us too warm for any significant snow.

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Today will mark the 6th day of the past week with below average temperatures.
Today will mark the 6th day of the past week with below average temperatures.NOAA (custom credit)/NOAA

Temperatures on Thursday will get into the 40s during the afternoon, returning to slightly above average. The milder air will continue on Friday with readings once again in the lower 40s as clouds increase.

Average temperatures which have been below average in blue, become warmer than average in red, over the next few days.
Average temperatures which have been below average in blue, become warmer than average in red, over the next few days.Tropical Tidbits (custom credit)/Tropical Tidbits

A storm will slowly move out of the Ohio valley and into Southern New England Saturday. This will bring an increase in clouds and precipitation on Saturday night. If the storm were to track offshore and become strong enough it might be able to bring down enough cold air from the higher levels of the other atmosphere to give us some significant snow.

But this particular storm is going to take a track slightly too far to the west and allow milder air to flow in off the ocean. This means rain will arrive and continue Saturday night before coming to an end sometime on Sunday.

As of today, a storm for the weekend brings rain, not snow to southern New England.
As of today, a storm for the weekend brings rain, not snow to southern New England.Tropical Tidbits (custom credit)/Tropical Tidbits

The store may linger in some form into Sunday evening with a brief change back to snow before everything finally moves out into the Atlantic. There’s admittedly still some question how the second half of the storm unfolds but I still just don’t see this looking like a significant snow event.

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There is some good news for Northern ski areas. With temperatures colder to the north and at higher elevation snow is likely. I expect that the Northern areas of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine will see up to or exceed 6 inches of snow this weekend. It’s not a game-changer storm but enough to freshen up the slopes and keep skiing in good condition for the week.

It looks likely that there will be another storm system sometime next week, but already the signs point to more of a wet than white system.

Although we have not formally closed out January, the first month of 2020 will definitely end up as a very warm one compared to average. Where it concludes in the rankings is still to be determined.

And if you are hoping for a cold and snowy February, the early signs are not favorable.

The coldest of air is forecast to remain locked far to the north as we begin February.
The coldest of air is forecast to remain locked far to the north as we begin February.NOAA (custom credit)/NOAA

This doesn’t mean that the second half of the month couldn’t turn markedly different and we’ve all seen years where late February and March end up being the worst part of our entire winter. I think this year if we are going to have any significant and prolonged snow it will have to come in the back end of winter, if it comes at all.

Remember, snowfall is highly variable in southern New England and although this year may end up with less-than-average snowfall, we have just concluded our snowiest decade since 1872 and things are bound to average out at some point.

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