Heavy rain and mild temperatures heighten flooding concerns! - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Heavy rain and mild temperatures heighten flooding concerns!

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

AFTERNOON UPDATE...

No major changes to our forecast.  As expected, with milder air moving in over the snow, fog has developed.  It will be locally dense this evening and throughout the day tomorrow, having an impact on multiple commutes.  The fog could drive visibility to a quarter of mile or less at times and will last into early Saturday.

A Flood Watch remains in place for the entire state, in effect Friday to Saturday.  We’re still expecting 1-3” of rain, that combined with snowmelt will enhance the threat for poor drainage, basement and ice jam flooding.  Today there will just be areas of drizzle, and temperatures will get close to 50.  A couple of important things to note:

  • Rain begins Friday morning, ends Saturday late morning/early afternoon (perhaps as a freezing rain, especially in the NW hills).  It will not rain for the entire period, it will come in waves (heavy at times)… but there will also be lulls.
  • While the Flood Watch goes into effect Friday morning, it will take some time before potential flooding actually becomes an issue. As of now, if flooding were to happen, it would likely be later Friday into Saturday morning. 

On the back side of this system, another blast of Arctic air arrives (high temperatures Saturday will be achieved early in the day).  As colder air filters into the state, this could lead to slick/icy conditions as lingering moisture freezes with temperatures dropping Saturday afternoon/evening.

Meteorologist Mark Dixon

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TODAY…

The January thaw will kick into high gear today.  Despite a mostly cloudy sky, temperatures will rise through the 40s to near 50 degrees.  You may run into a light rain shower or sprinkle, but most, if not all of the day will be dry.

A steadier rain will develop later tonight as temperatures bottom out in the upper 30s and 40s.  Areas of fog may form due to the mild, moist air flowing over the cold snow cover.

FLOODING POSSIBLE FRIDAY THROUGH SATURDAY…

A FLOOD WATCH has been issued for the entire state!  A storm system will move out of the Deep South on Friday and it will pass near or through Southern New England Saturday morning.  The storm will take a warm track and therefore we are forecasting all rain. 

We can expect periods of rain and areas of fog tomorrow as a strong southerly breeze sends temperatures rising through the 50s.  With the mild air and the rain, there will be a lot of melting snow.  This combination could lead to localized poor drainage flooding.  Since the ground is frozen, water could runoff into basements that are prone to flooding.  Additionally, there is a lot of ice on the state’s streams and rivers due to our recent 2 week long deep freeze.  Mild temperatures and heavy rain could cause the ice to break up and form ice jams.  This could lead to significant flooding on some streams and rivers.

Rain will continue tomorrow night, but it will end Saturday morning.  Total rainfall will range from 1-3”, but locally higher amounts are possible.  Temperatures will be in the 50s Friday evening, but they’ll drop into the upper 30s and 40s by Saturday morning as colder air infiltrates the state from the north.  Rain could end as a wintry mix in parts of Connecticut Saturday morning, but little or no accumulation is expected.

Saturday afternoon will be better with some partial clearing.  However, the air will turn progressively colder!  Temperatures will fall through the 30s, then into the upper teens and 20s Saturday night.  There will be problems with patches of ice forming due to all of the standing water.

COLDER SUNDAY AND EARLY NEXT WEEK…

Winter will make a strong comeback with the arrival of much colder air.  Sunday will be partly to mostly sunny, but blustery and cold with highs ranging from 27-34.  The mercury will dip into the upper single digits and teens Sunday night.

Monday will be mostly sunny and cold with highs in the mid to upper 20s.  At least the wind will become lighter.

A weak storm system could brush Connecticut with a light snowfall on Tuesday.  The GFS model keeps most of the snow to the south of New England.  However, the European model brings light snow into the state by Tuesday afternoon.  We’ll keep you updated over the coming days.

Wednesday will be mostly sunny, windy and cold with highs in the 20s at best.  Morning lows will likely range from 5-15 degrees Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning.

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DECEMBER 2017 IN REVIEW

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.

NOTABLE DEEP FREEZES FOR THE GREATER HARTFORD AREA

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.

BLIZZARD BRODY RECAP…

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. 

Chief Meteorologist  Bruce DePrest with Scot Haney

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