Why Thursday's Storm Won't Be a Big One

Afternoon Update: Our midday suite of computer guidance has come in and looks even less impressive for tomorrow. The storm develops a bit later - which keeps the strongest lift up to the north and subsequently keeps the lower levels of the atmosphere a bit milder. The GFS solution for tomorrow shows only a slushy 1"-3" in the hills with little if any accumulation in the valley. While we're not going to go this low yet that appears to be the direction things are going. The good news is that most of us will pick up a beneficial inch of rain or so.

David Camarlinghi

Previous discussion below...

When a nor'easter is going to crush Connecticut with heavy snow you generally need a couple ingredients in place. The storm should track near Cape Cod (there is some wiggle room here) and you want a cold and dry high pressure system to the north over Quebec. Thursday's storm doesn't check those boxes.


The first issue for many of us snow lovers will be the track of the storm. Most of our computer models tuck the storm in close to the coast - closer to say Block Island than Chatham, MA. This tends to allow warm air to surge inland a bit as the storm organizes. 

The second issue this storm has is that that the antecedent airmass over New England is pretty ugly. There's no cold/dry high pressure to the north and we've only got some lingering stale cold air to play with. While this would be enough for the hill towns it likely will not be for the valley. 

You can see how this looks at the height of the storm on the NAM computer model for Bradley Airport and Norfolk, CT. The low level warmth on the NAM is quite impressive in the valley and would result in a mainly rain storm around Hartford while it's just cold enough in the hills for snow. 

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Getty Images
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So the bottom line is while this storm may still be impressive for the hill towns it's going to struggle for most of the state with a fair amount of rain. Temperatures will just be too warm for a substantial storm. 

  • Snow begins Thursday morning and transitions to rain in most areas besides the hills.
  • 6" of snow is still possible in the highest hilltowns of northwest and northeast Connecticut.
  • As the storm pulls away the rain should change back to snow during the evening commute around Hartford. There could be a bit of accumulation here but probably not more than a 1"-3" kind of deal. Still, a period of slippery travel is possible.
  • The brunt of this storm will miss us to the north - it should be great for ski country in northern New England.
  • Mainly or all rain is expected for the southerly third of the state.
So not a big storm for us - just doesn't check enough of the boxes - but many towns will pick up at least some snow on Thursday. 
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