Weekend Outlook: From Thunder to Snow to Cold (3/17/2016)

Planner for Friday March 18 2016

An incredible difference in temperature with height provided numerous showers and a few robust thunderstorms on St. Patrick’s Day. Technically they weren’t severe but there were plenty of reports of pea sized hail and heavy rain to go around. The thunder threat keeps getting lower Thursday night and most showers will fizzle out. After midnight, a cold front drops south out of Canada and this one will live up to its name. It’s strong enough to drag snow showers across the north country after midnight and keep them around through the Friday morning drive. We’re not looking at big totals, generally less than an inch in valleys, foothills and mountains get 1-3″. Obviously not a lot but the timing may cause some icy issues for morning commuters. Temperatures to start Friday will be around 30°.

Snow showers may linger over the mountains through Friday afternoon while valleys gradually clear out. Temperatures won’t budge much, only reaching the middle 30s. It’ll feel much colder for two reasons. The first is that we’ve been solid in the 40s & 50s the last few days. The other thing that will provide a chill is a strong northwest wind behind the front blowing at 10-15mph with higher gusts. Take winter coats back out of the closet. High pressure will then settle in for Friday evening through Sunday evening. Friday night plans will be dry and cold with lows in the upper teens. Quiet weather continues Saturday, we’re partly to mostly sunny with highs in the low 30s. Another clear and cold night comes on Saturday night with lows around 10-20°. Sunday starts dry and sunny but how Sunday ends is still very much in question. It all depends on what happens with the coastal storm we’ve been talking about all week. Model trends are shifting it back to the west some, but how much west is still up for debate. Regardless, we’ll see some more clouds in our skies by Sunday afternoon, highs will still be in the middle to upper 30s. Whether it’s snowing, or dry depends on one of 2 most likely tracks; see the image above.

The first track takes the center of the storm very close to Cape Cod. This would result in heavy snow for eastern Vermont & all of New Hampshire starting late Sunday night. Farther north and west in western Vermont & northern New York, snow totals would be less but still figuring to be a few inches. Either way, it would make for a very difficult travel scenario Monday morning.

The other track, a little more off shore, results in a glancing blow. We’ll still get snow showers but not nearly as much and they’d start slightly earlier Sunday afternoon. This scenario would keep the higher snow amounts, generally a few inches, in eastern Vermont & all of New Hampshire. Farther north and west in western Vermont & northern New York, snow would be limited to passing showers with very light accumulation.

The ultimate path the storm takes depends largely where a ridge of high pressure is located in southeast Canada. While the latest trends are pulling the storm back to the west resulting in some kind of impact for us, the exact details are still being tweaked. We continue to watch!

Hope you had a great Thursday!

-Meteorologist Sean Parker

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