A mild end to February, but a potentially stormy start to March! - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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A mild end to February, but a potentially stormy start to March!

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We’re enjoying another mild day, with temps even warmer than yesterday (60 is still possible inland this afternoon).  Tonight, there is a slight chance for a passing shower.  Tomorrow will again be mild (50s)… likely partial sunshine early, becoming mostly cloudy by the evening.  

With regard to the impending coastal storm/nor’easter, as of now with the latest model trends (as they're coming into better alignment):  rain starts falling late Thursday (around/after the evening commute), heavy at times through Friday morning.  As we close out the week and temperatures slowly drop later Friday, we could see a transition (primarily inland) to snow.  As of now, and as we’ve been saying, the best chance of seeing accumulating snow will be in the higher elevations – specifically in northwest and northeast Connecticut.  In the Hartford Metro area, a slushy inch or two is possible.  With regard to the rain, 1-3” appear widespread…somewhere in Southern New England, we could see a swath of 2-4"  and could lead to flooding concerns (poor drainage/basement; as well as along smaller streams, creeks, rivers).  Finally, the wind will be another issue… perhaps gusting over 40 mph and could lead to scattered power outages (fortunately, trees are still without leaves, so that will help the situation).  The wind combined with the full moon could also lead to minor/moderate coastal flooding.  The system should slowly depart Saturday with brighter/drier weather on Sunday.

While the storm may be coming into better focus, there is still a lot of UNCERTAINTY with regard to the track.  A minor shift could mean a huge difference in precip type and also amounts… we'll have a complete update on Eyewitness News at 5pm.

Meteorologist Mark Dixon 





Today won’t be quite as sunny as yesterday, but it will be milder!  In fact, temperatures will rise close to 60 degrees over Northern Connecticut.  An onshore breeze will keep temperatures closer to 50 degrees in coastal sections of New London County.  The boundary between colder air and mild air will lie across far Northern New England tomorrow.  Here in Connecticut, we’ll reap the benefits of a southwesterly flow of mild air.

Now that we are close to the end of February, we are projecting the average temperature will come in close to 35.4 degrees at Bradley International Airport.  That would make this February the 5th warmest on record in 113 years of record keeping, or close to it!  The warmest February on record for the Greater Hartford Area was in 1998 when the average temperature was 36.2 degrees.  2nd place goes to February 1954 with an average temperature of 36.1.  February 2012 is in 3rd place with an average temperature of 35.7.  February 1925 is in 4th place with an average temperature of 35.6.  Currently, February 1981 is in 5th place with an average temperature of 35.3 degrees.  We will have the final numbers for this February tonight!


Before this week is over, we may have to deal with a powerful coastal storm.  However, there is still a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the impact the storm will have on Connecticut and all of Southern New England.  The guidance models are still showing quite a bit of variability. There is the potential for heavy rain, heavy wet snow in higher elevations, strong winds, and coastal flooding.  Given the uncertainties, here is what we are forecasting for now.  Most of Thursday looks ok.  Partly sunny skies will give way to increasing cloudiness during the afternoon, but rain should hold off until after dark.  Temperatures are expected to rise well into the 50s before the clouds completely hide the sun.

Rain will become steadier tomorrow night.  Rain could mix with or change to snow in the Northwest Hills late tomorrow night.  Temperatures will drop back into the 30s to near 40 degrees.  Rain and wind will have an impact on the Friday morning commute.  Several inches of wet snow could accumulate in the higher elevations and the wintry mix could last into Friday night.  North to northeasterly winds could gust to 40 mph or higher if the storm really lives up to its potential.  Highs will only range from the 30s in the Litchfield Hills to the 40s along the I-95 corridor.  Coastal flooding is a concern too.  The Full “Worm” moon will occur tomorrow.  The combination of astronomically high tides and strong northeasterly winds could result in at least some coastal flooding Friday.  The worst coastal flooding may occur along ocean facing beaches in Massachusetts.  Keep in mind, this is all subject to change.  Everything depends on the precise storm track.  We'll be sure to keep you updated.


The storm will depart Saturday, but some models keep the chance for snow and rain showers for at least part of the day.  For now, we are forecasting mostly cloudy skies and highs 40-45.  A strong northerly wind will keep wind chills in the 20s and lower 30s most of the day. 

Sunday will be better with partly sunny skies, a brisk northerly breeze, and highs in the low to middle 40s.


Monday will be a nice day with partly to mostly sunny skies and lighter winds.  Plus, temperatures will rise higher into the 40s.  The next system will be heading our way by late Tuesday or Tuesday night and it should come in the form of rain since the atmosphere will turn a little warmer by then.  We are forecasting highs near 50 Tuesday with increasing cloudiness.


The temperature soared to 77 degrees at Bradley International Airport!  The record for February 21st was shattered by 14 degrees!  The previous record was 63 degrees, set 88 years ago in 1930.  It was also the all-time warmest day on record for the month of February and records date back 113 years!  The previous record was 73 degrees, set on February 24th in 1985.  Plus, it was the all-time record high for the meteorological winter (December, January, and February)!  The previous record was 76 degrees, which was set on December 7th in 1998.  In Bridgeport, the high was 67 degrees. That broke the February 21st record by 8 degrees.  The previous record was 59 degrees, set in 2002.  67 degrees was also a tie for Bridgeport’s all-time record for the month of February, which was previously set in in 1976 and in 1977.

Chief Meteorologist Bruce DePrest with Scot Haney

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