Record warmth will continue to invade the Northeast it’s Wednesday, but it’s what happens after that will be a surprise for some of you in the Northeast. The passage of a cold front Wednesday night into Thursday will allow for cooler air to move in as winds take on a northerly component. At the same time, precipitation associated with the storm system bringing flooding rains to portions of the Central US will move into the Northeast. The combination of cold air and precipitation may make for a messy Thursday into Thursday night for some. It’s going to be a very brief, minor event, so we’re not talking about a major winter storm, but conditions for travel could become treacherous for some areas. Thankfully, temperatures will be right around freezing so treated roads should be fine.
During the morning Thursday, wintry precipitation will break out from northern Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and western New York. This will contain either freezing rain or a light snow with a thin line of sleet in between, based on the atmospheric profile present. By the time we get to the middle of the day, snow is expected to break out from western New York through central New York, and central New England, including Massachusetts, southern Vermont and New Hampshire, and northern Connecticut and Rhode Island. Some snow is also possible in northern Pennsylvania, but we think freezing rain may be a greater issue in this area. Meanwhile, the southern part of the state will deal with rain and above-freezing temperatures. Then in the afternoon and evening of Thursday, the precipitation will clear out of the interior while continuing in southern New England. Some of the model guidance, especially the NAM model, which has been quite accurate this winter season, is hinting at the possibility that wintry weather reaches the southern coast of New England. If that’s the case, it will likely be in the form of sleet and maybe freezing rain but snow cannot be ruled out.
Snowfall with this event will be very light. There will be a narrow corridor of where the snow falls, which is along and near the Massachusetts Turnpike and between Interstates 80 and 90 in the Northeast. This is the region that has the best chance for snow and for up to three inches of it. Could there be a few locations that exceed three inches? Yes. The snowfall rates will determine that, and a heavier pocket may develop Thursday morning near the Pennsylvania/New York line.
By Thursday night, the wintry and wet weather will clear out while we watch our next storm system approach from the west. This storm will bring freezing rain back to parts of the Northeast for Friday and into Friday night. Upstate New York into northern New England are areas that are at risk for this icing. Potentially a brief period of freezing rain may occur in central New York and northern Pennsylvania as well.