Record Warmth, Fog, Flooding, Flash Freeze... all in the next 24 - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Record Warmth, Fog, Flooding, Flash Freeze... all in the next 24 hours!

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

AFTERNOON UPDATE...

While a Flood Watch has been posted for the state for a couple of days now, it went into effect this morning and runs through Saturday afternoon.  Waves of rain will move across the state today, heavier this afternoon and evening, into Saturday morning.  The greatest flooding [poor drainage and basement] threat will be from this evening through early Saturday as the heaviest rain combines with rapid snowmelt.  Our going forecast for 1-3” of rain with locally higher amounts, is on track.  Furthermore, flooding along streams and smaller rivers due to ice jams, may become problematic later today and early Saturday.   

In addition to the flooding concern, there will be areas of fog (locally dense) as the mild air moves over the snow on a strong southerly flow.  Then, as the storm system exits Saturday late morning, early afternoon... temperatures will PLUMMET from northwest to southeast.  This could cause (1) the precip to end as a wintry mix or freezing rain, especially in the hills of NW CT; (2) a flash freeze, lingering moisture/standing water will freeze leading to slick travel.  

On the topic of temperatures, RECORD WARMTH has already been achieved.  So far, the 105 year old record of 57 was broken at Noon, by 1 degree (the temp could go higher) for the Greater Hartford area.  At Bridgeport, the temp was just a degree shy of the record at 12p.  It is even possible that new records could be set for tomorrow (Jan 13th), in the predawn hours before the temperatures rapidly drop.

Meteorologist Mark Dixon 

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***A FLOOD WATCH is in effect for all of Connecticut from Friday morning through midday Saturday***

***A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is in effect for Hartford, Tolland, Windham from 9am until 4pm tomorrow.  It's in effect for Litchfield County from 3am until 7pm tomorrow***

 

FLOODING POSSIBLE TODAY THROUGH TOMORROW…

A FLOOD WATCH is in effect for the entire state from this morning through midday tomorrow.  A storm will move out of the Deep South today and it will pass through Southern New England by tomorrow morning.  This storm will take a warm track and it will come loaded with moisture from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. 

We can expect periods of rain and areas of dense fog today as a strong southerly breeze sends temperatures rising through the 50s to possibly near 60 degrees!  Records highs for today, January 12th could be tied or broken.  The record high for the Greater Hartford Area is 57 degrees, set in 1913.  The record high for Bridgeport is 55 degrees, set last year in 2017.  The mild air and rain will result in rapidly melting snow and there will be plenty of runoff and standing water.  This could lead to localized poor drainage flooding.  Since the ground is frozen, water could seep 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 be the heaviest this afternoon through tonight and it will linger into Saturday morning.  There is even a chance for a thunderstorm in parts of the state.  Total rainfall will range from 1-3”, but locally higher amounts up to 4” are possible.  Temperatures will be in the 40s and 50s most of tonight, but dramatic changes will occur tomorrow morning.  That’s when much colder air will infiltrate the state from west to east, and from north to south.  Temperatures will be in the 40s and 50s early tomorrow morning, but they’ll drop a good 30 degrees or more throughout the day!  By late tomorrow afternoon and evening, temperatures will be in the 20s and 30s with perhaps even some teens in the Litchfield Hills!  That means any standing water from the heavy rain and snow melt will turn to ice.

With the arrival of the cold air, rain will change to an icy mix tomorrow morning, especially in the hills to the north and west of Hartford. That's why the WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY has been posted for Northern CT.  Precipitation should end around midday.  Some partial clearing is possible during the afternoon as a gusty north or northwesterly makes it feel even colder as the temperature steadily drops.

The mercury will dip into the single digits and teens tomorrow night and the wind chill will likely dip to zero or below!

COLD SUNDAY AND NEXT WEEK…

Sunday will be sunny, but windy and cold.  We’ll get a pretty good shot of arctic air from the due north.  Highs will only be in the mid to upper 20s and the wind chill will be in the single digits much of the day.  Sunday night will be very cold.  Temperatures will drop to between zero and 10 above under a mainly clear sky.

Monday will be mostly sunny and cold with highs in the 20s.  At least the wind will become lighter.  Clouds may overspread the state during the afternoon as we get into more of a northeasterly flow from off the ocean.

A developing coastal storm will likely bring snow to the state on Tuesday.  For now, it looks like a light to moderate snowfall with some accumulation likely.  We won’t get too specific just yet since the storm is still many days away.

Snow could linger into part of Wednesday.  However, as the storm moves away to the north, we should see some partial clearing in the afternoon as a brisk northwesterly win develops .  We are forecasting highs 30-35.

Thursday is expected to be partly sunny, windy and cold with morning lows in the teens and highs only in the 20s.

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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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