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A Look Back at Dec. 29 for Connecticut





Map above is based on reports from various sources, including this board, the National Weather Service and data viewers from across the state sent in.

Event Summary:

Scattered snow showers reached portions of western Connecticut by late morning on the 29th. This snow was associated with weakening low pressure over Pennsylvania.

The main storm began to develop east of Virginia during the afternoon.

Steady precipitation overspread the state from southwest to northeast between about 1 and 3 p.m. Most areas saw snow, but some ice pellets and graupel were reported near and southeast of I-95. Coastal New London County even switched to rain for a time.

Colder air moved in and a heavy band of snow set up over central and eastern Connecticut.

Snowfall rates between 1 and 3 inches per hour hammered portions of New Haven, Middlesex and New London Counties. This area of heavy snow eventually moved northeast and also impacted Tolland and Windham Counties. This band was a bit more intense than some predictions, resulting in higher snowfall amounts than forecast.

Extreme western Connecticut was too far west to be affected by this heavy snow.

The heaviest snow fell between about 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. before the shield of precipitation began to break apart. After midnight, the only leftover precipitation was occasional snow showers. By then, the bulk of the accumulation was over.

I still find the Feb. 7, 2003 analog to be quite good for this event, with respect to Connecticut. It's clear that with a warmer solution, southeastern Mass. could not have had such high snowfall amounts.

Shift the axis about 75 miles SW and you get a VERY good match-up. This analog showed up as a strong match about 2-3 days before the event: The point was that interior eastern Conn. and NW R.I. was favored for the highest amounts.


Forecasts for the storm were decent within 24 hours of the event, but before that, most were playing catch-up. What was expected to be a minor event turned into a moderate one with several snowfall totals in the 10-12 inch range, especially across eastern Connecticut.

My own forecast (from 5 p.m. the night before the storm) was too high for areas SW of Conn. and was generous as well for eastern Mass. With that said, I could have also pushed the 6-10" zone back further west:


The image below shows approximate snowfall totals from across the region:


Heavy snow focused in on the eastern half of Connecticut and the radar image below shows moderate to heavy precipitation pounding southern portions of the state. At the same time, some observed 2 to 3 inches of snow per hour for a few hours.




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