Winter Storm Warning Mon 8pm – Wed 8am: Likely 3 – 5 inches

Preliminary snowfall amounts as of 2pm, Wed, Mar 14, 2023.
(Source: NWS Boston)

A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for Mon 8pm – Wed 8am (including Providence County).

At Providence, steady rain is expected to change to snow Tue late afternoon before ending Wed 2am. Temperatures well above freezing should prevent accumulation before Tue afternoon, with a low of only 33F overnight Tue 8pm – Wed 8am.

Snow accumulation probabilities: at least 0.1in 81%, 1in 74%, 2in 65%, 4in 46%, 6in 30%, 8in 18%, 12in 4%, and 18in near 0%.

The forecast is highly uncertain and complicated, involving development of storms off the Long Island coast drawing a supply of cold air from the north, and at this time it is hard to predict the intensity of the effects as well as where and when rain changes to snow: anything from all rain to 8in snow is within the realm of realistic possibility for the metropolitan area. To the north and west much greater accumulation is likely, with as much as 2ft in northern and western MA.

Winds exceeding 25MPH sustained with 50MPH gusts Tue and Wed could damage trees and power lines, especially because the snow is expected to be heavy and wet, stressing roofs and buildings.

Winter Weather Advisory Fri 7pm – Sat 7pm: Likely 1 – 3 inches

A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for Fri 7pm – Sat 7pm.

At Providence, snow began Fri 10pm, expected to change to rain Sat 3am – 4am, and end 4pm possibly changing back to snow briefly before tapering off. Snow accumulation 1 – 3 inches expected with temperatures rising above freezing to a Sat afternoon high 38F. Somewhat greater amounts are possible outside the metropolitan area, mainly to the north.

Snow accumulation probabilities: at least 0.1in 74%, 1in 58%, 2in 36%, 4in 3%, and 6in near 0%.

Winter Storm Warning Mon 7pm – Tue 7pm: Likely 3 – 5 inches

A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for Mon 7pm – Tue 7pm.

At Providence, snow began Mon 11pm and is expected to end Tue 6pm, with possibly a brief change to rain after Tue 12pm. Snow accumulation 3 – 5 inches expected with temperatures rising above freezing to a Tue afternoon high 37F. Somewhat greater amounts are possible outside the metropolitan area, mainly to the west and south.

Snow accumulation probabilities: at least 0.1in 100%, 1in 98%, 2in 93%, 4in 50%, and 6in near 0%.

Travel will be difficult with heaviest snow and lowest visibility Mon night into Tue morning, especially affecting the Tue morning commuting period, with snowfall rates less by Tue late morning and early afternoon accompanied by rising temperatures.

A number of municipalities have announced parking bans with some beginning as early as Mon 5pm, including Barrington, Bristol, Burrillville, Central Falls, Coventry, Cranston, Cumberland, East Greenwich, East Providence, Glocester, Hopkinton, Johnston, Lincoln, Middletown, Narragansett, Newport,North Providence, Pawtucket, Portsmouth, Richmond, Scituate, Seekonk (MA), Smithfield, Warren, West Greenwich, West Warwick, Woonsocket. (Warwick has announced a parking ban on social media but not on the centralized statewide system.)

Most public and private schools have announced either complete closure or virtual learning for Tue, including Bristol-Warren, Burrillville, Central Falls, Coventry, Cranston, Cumberland, East Providence, Foster-Glocester, Johnston, Northern RI Collaborative, Pawtucket, Providence, RI School for the Deaf, The Met (Providence and East Bay), Warwick, West Bay Collaborative, West Warwick, Wm M Davies Jr Career-Tech HS, Woonsocket.

More rain is likely Wed night into Thu afternoon, followed by another period of mixed rain and snow Fri morning into Sat morning.

Slight Chance of Snow this Weekend: Colder temperatures in high 20s Sat, high 30s Sun

At Providence, a 52% chance of 0.1in snow across the weekend could occur Sat 3 – 7pm or Sun 10am – 4pm, but is not likely. Colder temperatures with afternoon highs 25F on Sat and 38F on Sun will accompany the threat of light snow and overcast skies.

Chance of rain changing to snow Tue and Wed.

RI Prepares for Dangerously Cold Extreme Weather: Emergency action by state and local governments

Dangerously extreme cold weather is predicted Fri, Feb 3, through Sat, Feb 4, that will combine ambient temperatures dropping to -6F with sustained winds of 25MPH and gusts of 45MPH to produce wind chills below -20F. (See motifri.com/wx-2023-02-02 for forecast details.) State and local governments are taking emergency actions to keep the public safe and, at the worst case, prevent deaths.

The RI Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) published a list of places where people without access to indoor heat can find temporary shelter — riema.ri.gov/planning-mitigation/resources-businesses/warming-centers — and a list of local city and town contact points — riema.ri.gov/planning-mitigation/local-contacts — as well as offering assistance by dialing 211.

The RI Department of Housing has asked homeless shelters to extend their hours and until Sun 5pm will fund transportation costs to individuals in need to the 24/7 warming station at the Cranston Street Armory, using both RIPTA and, in rural and outlying communities, Uber.

The RI Department of Health (RIDOH) issued advice for coping with extreme cold:

  • Yourself

    • Dress in layers.
    • Cover exposed skin. Wind chills this low may result in frostbite on exposed skin in as few as 15 minutes.
    • Limit outdoor time.
    • Add blankets to your home’s emergency kit.
    • Eat frequently. Food gives the body energy to produce heat.
    • Do not drink a lot of alcohol or caffeine. Alcohol and caffeine cause your body to lose heat faster.
    • Check on older family and friends; infants and older adults are more at risk for health problems related to extreme temperature.
    • Your baby should wear the same layers adults would comfortably wear plus one additional layer. Avoid using one big, bulky blanket.
    • Know the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite.

  • Your car

    • Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
    • Make a winter emergency kit for your car. Add extra blankets and a wind shield.
    • Make sure your tires have enough air pressure and that your heater works.
    • Check your car’s antifreeze levels.
    • Tell your friends and family if you are traveling somewhere. If you can, bring a mobile phone with you.

  • Your pets

    • Limit outdoor time for your pets.
    • Bring outdoor pets inside.

  • Your home

    • Extreme cold can cause your water pipes to freeze and sometimes break. Leave your water tap open so they drip. Open the cabinets beneath the kitchen sink to let warm air near the pipes.
    • Be careful with indoor heaters; keep space heaters three feet away from anything that may catch fire.
    • Conserve heat. Don’t open doors or windows unless necessary. Close off unneeded rooms.
    • Do not use generators, grills, or camp stoves inside.
    • Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector to protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning. Put a carbon monoxide detector near your bedroom so you can hear it if you are sleeping.

RIDOH warns that the most immediate health risks from extreme cold are frostbite and hypothermia:

When exposed to cold temperatures, your body can lose heat quickly and develop frostbite or hypothermia or both.

Frostbite most often impacts noses, ears, cheeks, chins, fingers, and toes. Signs of frostbite include discolored (red, white, or greyish-yellow) skin and numbness. If you notice signs of frostbite, get into a warm area as soon as possible and call a healthcare provider. Warm the affected area with warm water or with body heat. Frostbitten areas can be easily burned because they are numb. Do not use hot water, heating pads, or the heat of a stove or radiator for warming.

Signs of hypothermia include shivering; exhaustion; confusion, memory loss, slurred speech; bright red, cold skin in infants, and very low energy in infants. If you notice signs of hypothermia, take the person’s temperature. If their temperature is below 95°F, this is an emergency, and the person should get medical attention immediately.

The RI Office of Energy Resources is working with RI Energy (the successor to National Grid) which has “secured incremental electric resources and have additional crews available as needed” and placed “LNG [liquefied natural gas] facilities on standby and staffed to vaporize as needed.”

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also publish recommendations for safety in winter weather conditions.

Life-Threatening Cold Fri – Sat: Wind Chill Advisory as Low as -30F

At Providence, a Wind Chill Advisory is in effect for Fri 10am – Sat 10am with ambient temperature down to -6F and wind chill as low as -30F due to sustained wind of 25MPH with gusts to 45MPH. The worst of the severe cold will be Fri 6pm – Sat 12pm when wind chill consistently below -10F is expected. Suburbs outside the metropolitan area will likely be even colder.

Extreme cold to this extent is life-threatening to anyone out of doors and can cause hypothermia and frostbite to exposed skin in as few as 10 minutes. The RI Emergency Management Agency is opening warming centers for people who need protection from the cold — riema.ri.gov/planning-mitigation/resources-businesses/warming-centers — and lists local contacts — riema.ri.gov/planning-mitigation/local-contacts — for anyone seeking shelter. Help is also available by telephoning 211.

Providence may see a new record low ambient temperature, exceeding -3F set Feb 3, 1955, and -2F set Feb 4, 1918. The normal low for both dates is 22F, and records date back to 1905.

The cold snap will be brief with temperatures recovering to 15F – 20F by Sat afternoon, to 45F by Sun and Mon, and to 50F by Tue and Wed.

Northern New England could see wind chills to -60F and parts of New York could see wind chills to -40F. Heating systems could be stressed to the point of failure and vehicles could fail to start and run reliably.

Snow Wed Changing to Rain Wed Night: High winds, a fraction of an inch before being washed away by heavy rain

At Providence, snow beginning Wed 3pm ­– 5pm will change to rain 5 – 8pm, but less than 1 inch is expected before being washed away by heavy rain with temperatures rising to 50F before ending Thu 6 – 8am. Wind gusts to 40MPH are likely for several hours during the peak of the storm.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect Wed 1pm to Thu 1am covering most of northern RI as well as central and western MA and inland CT. Travel may be difficult especially during the Wed evening commute, and the combination of heavy rain and gusty wind may take down tree limbs and power lines.

Probability of accumulation at least 0.1in is 94% and 1in is near 0%.

Rain changing to snow Mon: May end by evening with 1in snow

At Providence, rain likely changing to snow Mon afternoon, but temperatures about 35F preclude any chance of substantial changeover to accumulating snow, although an inch or so is expected.

Rain has been observed to change to snow as of Mon 1:30pm, but temperatures will remain above freezing in the metropolitan area until about 8pm. Significant accumulation is likely to the north and west due to colder air and therefore an earlier changeover, from Burrillville through Worcester and Springfield, where Winter Weather Advisories have been posted.

Probability of accumulation at least 0.1in is 86%, 1in is 64%, 2in is 24%, and 4in near 0%.

Mostly Rain Ending as Snow Thu – Fri: Less than 1 inch expected

At Providence, rain Thu will end as snow Fri 7pm with minimal accumulation of at most 1 inch in the metropolitan area and less toward the coast. Higher accumulation is likely in central and western MA where a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until 6pm.

Probability of accumulation at least 0.1in is 69%, 1in near 0%.

Snow Sun Evening – Mon Morning Possible but Not Likely: Dusting to 2 inches at most

At Providence, snow is possible but not likely Sun 5pm – Mon 6am. Chance of precipitation will not exceed 30% throughout this period, implying 70% likelihood of no precipitation at all.

Probability of accumulation at least 0.1in is 64%, 1in is 32%, 2in is 8%, 4in is near 0%. Greatest accumulations are possible to the east of the city in the area of Plymouth, MA, on Cape Cod.