Small Snow Accumulation Likely This Weekend, But Changes Still Possible

Here we go again? As we move into the 2nd half of March, many are growing weary of snow (or at least hearing about it).  This weekend disturbance will likely not bring the snow amounts that we had this past Tuesday.  I realize that we did not have blockbuster amounts, especially from Providence down to the south coast.  My point is that instead of the wide 2” to 13” range that we had on Tuesday, this weekend will likely be around 1” to 3” of snow.

There are many factors going against a big snowstorm:

  • The storm does not look all that strong.
  • The bulls-eye of the heaviest precipitation is trending offshore.
  • While temperatures will be below normal for mid-March , they don’t look cold enough to completely overpower the relatively stronger mid-March sun angle. This is important for any snow that happens to fall during the day on Sunday.

Here is a look at the predicted surface map (courtesy Accuweather) from the European model early on Sunday morning.  Note how the low pressure center, indicated by the center circle, is well offshore in the Atlantic.

The green, yellow, and red colors show the predicted precipitation…notice how the brightest colors (which represent the heaviest precipitation) stay offshore.  From Saturday night to Sunday night, the European model is showing about 2 to 3” of snow. Image courtesy WeatherBell.

Still a Chance of a Stronger, Closer Storm

There is still a possibility that storm tracks closer and a little stronger; this is demonstrated by looking at the ensemble forecast.  Ensemble forecasts are generated by tweaking the starting point of the computer model, and then looking at how this changes the predictions of the computer models.  So when the starting point of the European computer model is tweaked, there are actually over 50 different forecasts that are produced.  While most of the ensemble forecasts show minor snow accumulations, a few DO show a stronger, closer storm such as the forecast below: (Image courtesy WeatherBell)

Notice how the center of low pressure (shown by the big “L”) is tucked in closer to southern New England.  If this scenario actually happened, we could be looking at amounts closer to 6”, maybe even more.

But the vast majority of the ensemble forecasts show that this “L” is further offshore; so that’s why we are leaning towards a lighter snowfall forecast with some mixing to rain possible.   In fact, based on the European ensemble forecasts, the chance of receiving over 6” of snow is about 10-20% for most of our viewing area:

As always, stay tuned as we look at more data regarding this weekend rain/snow event. –Pete Mangione

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