Good Tuesday evening!
After highs in the 50s and 60s today, temperatures have dropped of quickly this evening and they range from 35 degrees in Willington to 46 degrees in Bridgeport at this hour. Sky conditions are partly cloudy and winds are very light.
The weather changes we'll experience this week will be nothing short of amazing! First of all, let's savor today's preview of spring! The mercury reached 64 degrees in Bridgeport this afternoon, which falls just short of the record high of 67 degrees set on March 11, 1977. At Windsor Locks, the afternoon high was 56 degrees, which falls well short of the record high of 75 degrees, also set on this date in 1977.
Before this week is over, we may be dealing with record cold! More on that coming up, but first I want to talk about the big storm that is heading our way. The storm is rather disorganized this evening, but it will really get its act together tonight and especially tomorrow. The center of the storm will approach Southern New England from the west and it will pass very close to the Connecticut shoreline tomorrow evening. The barometric pressure will drop all day tomorrow and it will bottom out in an impressive way tomorrow evening.
Connecticut will be on the warm side of the storm initially, which means the bulk of the precipitation will fall in the form of rain. Meanwhile, heavy snow will fall across Northern New England and much of Upstate New York. A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for Northwestern Massachusetts, but a Winter Storm Warning is in effect for large portions off Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Upstate New York. These areas could receive a foot of snow and then some! No weather alerts have been issued for Connecticut, at least for now.
Here is the timeline: Light rain and drizzle will develop in Connecticut later tonight in the pre-dawn hours. Rain will become steadier during the afternoon and evening. With the warm front in the vicinity, the rain could become convective in nature - that means we can expect a few heavier downpours and perhaps even a few rumbles of thunder. The storm begins pulling away from CT late Wednesday night and the atmosphere will quickly turn colder. Temperatures will plummet and rain will change to snow or snow showers in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday. Snowflakes will linger in many parts of the state through the morning commute. A coating to 3" of snow could accumulate Thursday morning with the higher end of that range likely occurring in the higher elevations of Northern and Western Connecticut. Plus, we'll have to be on the lookout for a "flash freeze". All of that moisture from tomorrow's rain combined with the melting snow cover will turn to ice as temperatures drop into the teens and 20s by late tomorrow night. Roads, sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots could be quite slippery Thursday morning.
The sky will begin to clear Thursday afternoon, but we'll have to deal with a cold northwesterly wind throughout the day that could gust as high as 40 mph! High temperatures will only be in the 20s with wind chill readings in the single digits above and below zero! The record low maximum (coldest high temperature) at Windsor Locks for March 13th is 24 degrees set in 1984. However, since temperatures won't really nose dive until after midnight Wednesday night, that record should remain intact.
High pressure will approach New England from the west Thursday night and the brutally cold wind will diminish. Temperatures will drop into the single digits and teens by Friday morning and we'll have a better shot at record cold. The record low for March 14th for the Greater Hartford Area is 7 degrees, set in 1948. The record low in Bridgeport is 16 degrees, set in 1993 and previous years. Once, again it'll be a close call with a pretty good chance for a new record especially in Bridgeport.
Friday will be a much calmer day with high pressure drifting across New England. We'll enjoy plenty of sunshine and temperatures will rebound nicely, reaching 35-40 degrees during the afternoon.
The weekend is looking fairly uneventful. There could be a couple of snow or rain showers Saturday, but no significant precipitation is expected. Plus, temperatures will get back to normal with highs in the 40s both days. The mercury could even nudge the 50 degree mark in some parts of the state Saturday afternoon.
For Monday, St. Patrick's Day, winter will make another strong comeback as yet another batch of very cold air plunges southward throughout New England. Temperatures may stay below freezing Monday despite plenty of sunshine and a gusty northerly wind will make it feel even colder. By late Monday night, the mercury will dip into the single digits and teens once again. However, another rebound can be expected by Tuesday afternoon.
Have a terrific midweek!
Chief Meteorologist Bruce DePrest
7831 N. Business Park Drive