A January thaw that turns rainy with flooding concerns - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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A January thaw that turns rainy with flooding concerns

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Today will be a bit cooler than yesterday, with near normal high temperatures this afternoon (mid-30s).  Clouds will be on the increase as the day progresses.  The clouds are associated with the leading edge of some milder air that will be working into the region.  As that milder air arrives tonight, there is just the slightest chance [inland] for a spotty light mix or some freezing rain toward daybreak tomorrow - much of the state will remain dry.  The big story over the coming days is the warming trend in tandem with a storm system that could produce 1-3” of rain from Friday into Saturday… this, with snowmelt, will lead to poor drainage, basement and ice jam flooding concerns.

Our January thaw only lasts through Saturday… Sunday, another shot of Arctic air arrives and lingers through early next week.

Meteorologist Mark Dixon 



As we approached 9am yesterday, the temperature at both Windsor Locks and Bridgeport (the official climate reporting stations in CT) went above freezing.  That officially ended the 2-week long Deep Freeze (the last time we had a temperature above freezing was back on Christmas day). During the afternoon, temperatures peaked not only above freezing but above average with highs in the upper 30s and lower 40s.  Temperatures this warm allowed for our January thaw to commence and for snow to start melting.  


After a cold start to the day, we’ll get to enjoy a lot of sunshine (at least initially).  Temperatures will peak in the mid-30s during the afternoon …so not quite as mild as yesterday, but at least above freezing.  The normal high for January 10th is 34 degrees, so it will be seasonable.  As high pressure moves offshore, a light southerly breeze will develop and clouds will be on the increase, lowering and thickening by this evening. 

Tonight, a warm front will move into the region and could generate a spotty and light wintry mix or freezing rain.


The morning commute could be slick in spots over interior portions of the state with pockets of freezing rain, but this looks to be very isolated (if it happens at all).  However, behind the front temperatures will rise well above freezing in the afternoon tomorrow, as a southerly flow pushes temperatures into the 40s across most of the state.  Areas of fog may develop with moist, mild air flowing over the cold snow cover.


A storm system will move into the region as we close out the week and with it will come waves of rain, heavy at times.  The storm track will be a warm one for CT – meaning all rain for us. 

We can expect periods of rain, areas of fog, and highs ranging from the upper 40s to the mid-50s!  With the mild air and the rain, there will be a lot of melting snow.  The combination could lead to localized poor drainage flooding.  Since the ground is frozen from the deep freeze, some water could runoff into basements. 

We can expect rain and fog Friday night with lows in the lower 40s.


The storm system will continue plaguing Connecticut with unsettled weather as it moves through New England on Saturday with more rain and fog.  The concern will increase for poor drainage flooding throughout the first half of the weekend.  Additionally, ice jams may become problematic on streams and rivers.  Forecasting temperatures is very tricky, it all depends on the location of a stationary front.  For now, we are forecasting highs in the 40s, but that is all subject to change.

Precipitation will end Saturday afternoon with perhaps a little late day clearing.


The departing storm will usher in much colder air Sunday and early next week.  Sunday will be partly to mostly sunny and windy.  Highs will only be in the lower 30s and a northwest wind could gust to 40 mph.  Factoring in the wind, it will feel more like the 20s and teens over the second half of the weekend!  Monday will be mostly sunny and even colder with highs in the 20s.  The good news is the wind will be much lighter.  Tuesday looks to be another day with temperatures running below average.  As of now, there could be a little snow as we head toward the middle of next week, so stay tuned!



Both in Hartford and Bridgeport, January 7th record lows were achieved.  The low in the Greater Hartford area was -9, surpassing the old record low of 1 above set in 1912.  In Bridgeport, the low of -2 shattered the previous record of 7 degrees.


It was the deep freeze during the last week of the month that really lowered the average temperature to levels far below normal.  The average temperature at Bradley International Airport was 27.5 degrees, which is 4.1 degrees below normal!  Total precipitation was 2.41”, which is 1.03” below normal.  This includes rain plus the water equivalent of snow and ice.  However, snowfall was above normal by 2.4”.  The grand total was 9.8”.  The snowiest December on record was in 1945, when 45.3” of snow was measured in Hartford.


The last time the temperature remained BELOW freezing for a week or more was in February of 2014.  That deep freeze lasted 9 days.  The longest deep freeze on record lasted 19 days and that was in December 1989!  That was the coldest December on record with an average temperature of 18.1 degrees!

It is also interesting to note there was a stretch of 10 consecutive days from January 19th through January 28th in 1961 when the high temperature was 20 degrees or lower in Windsor Locks.  There was also a 7 day stretch from December 29, 1917 to January 4, 1918 where the high temperature remained BELOW 20 degrees in the Greater Hartford Area.


Brody was an incredible storm throughout the Northeast.  Massive coastal flooding occurred in Massachusetts and Nantucket had a gust to hurricane force, 76 mph!  Here in Connecticut, there was a gust to 64 mph on New London Ledge, 59 mph in Litchfield, and 54 mph in Hampton.  Despite the powerful wind, there weren’t a tremendous number of power outages.  Snowfall ranged from 8” to 16” in most locations.  The highest total reported in the state was 16.6” in Staffordville.  There were several reports of 15”.

At the official climate reporting stations in Connecticut, record snowfall was recorded for January 4th.  For the Hartford Area, a 95 year old record fell with 10.2" of snow (previously: 8.1"); at Bridgeport, the prior record of 5.3" (1988) was also well surpassed with 8.0" of snow yesterday. 

Meteorologist Mark Dixon with Scot Haney

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