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Saturday 3am-7pm rain then possible snow: Little accumulation

At Providence, rain Saturday with temperatures in the 40s until 4pm, with decreasing temperatures possibly causing a change to snow for a short time before ending 7pm. Flash freezing as temperatures drop to the low 20s overnight could cause slippery road conditions from wet surfaces.

Median accumulation forecast is a fraction of an inch, with probabilities 68% for at least 0.1 in, 32% for 1 in, 12% for 2 in, and near 0% for 4 in.




Wednesday 10am-9pm snow: 1-3 inches accumulation

At Providence, snow is likely Wed 10am-9pm. Although the precipitation will fall as snow, in the metropolitan area temperatures several degrees above freezing are likely to reduce ground accumulation, and temperatures are not expected to fall below freezing until very late overnight shortly before Thu sunrise, rising to an afternoon high of 50F.

Median accumulation forecast is 1 inch, with probabilities 83% for at least 0.1 in, 55% for 1 in, 16% for 2 in, and near 0% for 4 in.




Sunday-Monday snow: One inch accumulation

Winter Weather Advisory until Mon 8am for all of RI and nearby MA.

At Providence, snow is likely Sun until Mon 6am, but could continue as late as 9am affecting the morning commute.

Median accumulation forecast is less than 1 inch, with probabilities 75% for at least 0.1 in, 1% for 1 in, and near 0% for 2 in. Greater amounts are expected to the southeast toward the coast.




Rain Mon could start as snow: Little to no accumulation expected before ending Tue

At Providence, rain is likely Mon 10am until Tue 7am, although precipitation is possible as early as Mon 8am and it could come in the form of snow before the temperature rises above freezing by 11am. Although areas far to the north and west should expect accumulating snow, in the city the probability of at least 0.1 in is only 18% and the most probable scenario is no snow at all. Temperatures will rise into the high 30s on Mon and the low 40s on Tue.




Mostly rain Thu-Fri: Flash freezing may cause dangerous travel conditions

Winter Weather Advisory effective Fri until 7pm, beginning at 6am for northern RI and nearby MA and at 10am for southern RI.

At Providence, rain starting Thu 10am may change to freezing rain or sleet Fri 11am and possibly to snow 8pm before ending by 11pm. Median accumulation is 0.1 inches, with probability 38% for at least 0.1 in and near 0% for 1 in.

The main risk is temperatures in the range of 50F around Fri sunrise crashing down through the freezing point at mid-day and then below 20F at night, causing water on road surfaces and elsewhere to turn dangerously icy, possibly quite suddenly. Many schools and businesses have announced closings for the day in expectation of these travel conditions, and RI DOT has warned to be alert to flash freezing of road surfaces.

The change to frozen precipitation Fri afternoon may cause difficulty traveling due to icy road surfaces, particularly during the evening commute. Ice accretions exceeding 0.1 in could cause some damage to trees and power lines.

No further precipitation is expected through Wed.




Blizzard criteria met in RI, MA: NWS announces list of stations that qualified

The National Weather Service announced at 5:41pm that the official requirements for classifying the Jan 29 storm as a blizzard were met at a number of (mostly airport) observation stations, including Providence (KPVD), Westerly (KWST), Newport (KUUU), and Block Island (KBID) in RI and Boston (KBOS), Worcester (KORH), Beverly (KBVY), Hyannis (KHYA), Marshfield (KGHG), and Martha’s Vineyard (KMVY) in MA. Several stations stopped reporting wind, visibility, or other data, and as a result whether blizzard criteria were met could not be determined at Smithfield (KSFZ) in RI and Chatham (KCQX), Falmouth (KFMH), and Provincetown (KPVC) in MA.

Blizzard conditions are defined as snow falling or blowing that reduces visibility below one-quarter mile combined with winds that frequently gust to 35MPH or more, reported as the predominant weather for at least three consecutive hours. Winds reached hurricane force on Cape Ann, Cape Cod, and Nantucket in MA. Totals of one to two feet of snow were common across the region.

Additional stations may be determined to have also met blizzard criteria and may be added to the list early next week.




High-impact winter storm/blizzard likely, 12–24 inches snow: Fri 9pm–Sat 8pm time frame

Blizzard Warning in effect from Sat Jan 29, 12:00am EST until Sun Jan 30, 12:00am EST.

RI has declared a state of emergency and imposed a travel ban Sat until 11:59pm for all vehicles. RIPTA has suspended all service Sat.

A classic “nor’easter” winter storm is bringing blizzard conditions and an estimated 12–24 inches of snow to southeastern New England between Fri 9pm and Sat 8pm. Snowfall rates of 2–4 inches per hour are possible, resulting in near-zero visibility and extremely difficult travel.

Median accumulation at Providence is 20 inches, with probabilities near 100% for at least 2 in, 99% for 4 in, 98% for 6 in, 95% for 8 in, 84% for 12 in, and 45% for 18 in.

Forecast models are in agreement on the strength of the storm, with the potential for sufficiently rapid development to be classed as “bombogenesis,” defined as a drop in central pressure of at least 24mb over 24 hours.

The most probable scenario according to forecast models is that the offshore storm will produce heaviest snow over Cape Cod and the Islands with decreasing amounts to the west, placing Providence at the western edge of the “extreme impact” region, and Hartford and Worcester in the “major impact” region. Deviation of the storm track either to the west or the east could significantly increase or decrease severity, respectively, at Providence.

High winds are expected, their strength depending upon how closely the storm tracks, but gusts to 60MPH are possible close to the storm.

Astronomical high tides are a certainty for Saturday, causing a risk of coastal flooding.

“WICKED BIG STORM” state highway sign in RI on I-95 (Jan 27, 2022)
(Photo: Michael Bilow)



RI Gov. McKee updates blizzard situation: 9:30am press conference

Gov. Daniel McKee and Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos at the RI Emergency Management Agency with his team responding to the blizzard from Department of Transportation, National Grid, State Police, National Guard, Jan 29, 2022, 9:30am.
(Photo: Michael Bilow)

(Click here to watch the full press conference.)

After declaring a state of emergency and imposing a travel ban because of the blizzard affecting RI today, Gov. Daniel McKee gave a progress report at a press conference held at the Emergency Management Agency (EMA) in Cranston this morning at 9:30am. He was accompanied by Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos along with leadership from the EMA, Department of Transportation, National Grid, State Police, and National Guard.

“As we expected, the storm started accumulating overnight and the winds have picked up. We are now seeing significant snowfall and rapid accumulation. We are experiencing snowfall between one and three inches an hour, totally between 18 and 24 inches by the time this is all said and done. And as I mentioned yesterday, this is one of the top snowfalls in a 24-hour period in the history of the State of Rhode Island at this point in time. That’s what we expect and that’s what we’re getting,” McKee said. “We expect the heaviest snows to be between 10am and 4pm today. That’s why the best thing that we can do right now is stay off the roads. Stay home right in the comfort of your own home. Between 11pm last night and 2am This morning, the Rhode Island State Police responded to 15 weather related accidents. Since then conditions have only getting worse. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way, and again don’t put the people – all the first-responders out there, all our traffic plowers, you know people are behind the plows – don’t put them in harm’s way. So stay off the roads, please. Let us let our plows do their job and then we open things up and we’re in good shape as we recover tomorrow.”

McKee said all bridges are closed except for emergency vehicles, including the Newport Bridge, the Jamestown Bridge, and the Sakonnet River Bridge. McKee said that many parking bans have been imposed, and this is a matter of safety for access by fire and rescue. Have devices, including flashlights, charged, McKee said, although only about 75 households so far have experienced power loss from the storm.

Update: At 12:30pm, the governor told Motif that due to limited safety and visibility, state police have been directed to be cease patrolling roads and maintain positions in case they need to be called out to respond. He said he has not been able to leave the EMA facility to see for himself due to weather conditions, and his press spokesman said that would likely have to wait until tomorrow.

Requests have been forwarded to President Joe Biden for a federal disaster declaration to provide resources to help the state, McKee said, and the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had offered assistance.

“I want to say thank you to everyone who is on the job doing the work making sure Rhode Islanders are safe: our plow crews, DPW workers, police officers, firefighters, first-responders and healthcare workers. Thank you on behalf of the people of the state of Rhode Island. This is a team effort, and because of the great team we have, we’ll get through this. If you have an opportunity, help your neighbor if you can. Make sure that you’re careful and we will see good results because of the great work that is happening in the local communities and on the state level,” McKee said.

Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos address the public in Spanish summarizing much of what McKee had said immediately before, adding “Just a reminder about the United Way, 211 is the number that you can call, if you need shelter or food. They have volunteers available answering the phone 24×7, so make sure you reach out to the United Way if you need assistance.”

State Police Superintendent Col. James Manni said, “As I stated yesterday, we do not put the travel bans in effect lightly. We realize that it creates some hardship for some people. But I’m happy to report that the vast majority of Rhode Islanders are staying off the highways. I drove most parts of the state today and I only saw a handful of vehicles. We do make exceptions, if you’re essential personnel and you must be at a hospital, nursing home, doctor, people that are involved in plow operations. We make those exceptions, but the the highways are fairly light. We have not issued a summons at this point.”

Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti said, “The reports that we’re getting in and my own observation out on the road is that everything is going exactly according to plan. We told you yesterday, we would have a full complement… about 155 of our plows and about 350 private vendors out there. They were deployed last night as we planned, they stayed out all night last night pre-treating the roads. At this point [9:30am] we’ve got what we expected, about four to seven inches across the state… As we said yesterday, the intensities which you can see is now picking up along with the wind gusts is going to create challenges for them… The general public is cooperating and so are the trucking industry: there are literally no tractor trailers on our highways and very few vehicles that I passed I when I was on the road this morning… Things are about to get a lot worse out there. So if you’ve stayed off the road, up until now, we certainly thank you for that. The next few hours are crucial. It’s going to be dangerous out there. There’s going to be very low visibility. There are whiteout conditions happening out there right now… Our folks are doing what they do, they’re going to punch through the other side of this. We told you yesterday our plan, that plan is in full effect and it’s working, so we’re going to stay with it.”




Thursday snow less than 1 inch: Ending early afternoon

At Providence, snow is possible Thu until 1:00pm, possibly beginning as rain before changing to snow. The timing of the precipitation will make the morning commute difficult due to slippery road surfaces, especially as ice forms during a transition from rain to snow.

Several cities in RI and nearby MA have announced parking bans; check local information for updates.

Median accumulation forecast less than 1 inch, with probabilities 77% for at least 0.1 in, 38% for 1 in, 1% for 2 in, and near 0% for 4 in. Lesser amounts are expected to the southeast toward the coast. Snow amounts have been revised slightly downward since the forecast cycle last night.

A substantial drop in temperature will occur Thu after sunset, plunging to 10F with sub-zero wind chill -2F by Fri sunrise and afternoon high rising only to 20F with 0F wind chill. Overnight temperature Fri into Sat will be even lower, down to 9F, before relenting somewhat to a Sat afternoon high 25F.




Thursday morning snow less than 2 inches: Will cause difficult commute

At Providence, snow is possible Thu 3:00am–2:00pm, possibly beginning as rain before changing to snow by 7:00am. The timing of the precipitation will make the morning commute difficult due to slippery road surfaces, especially as ice forms during the transition from rain to snow.

Several cities in RI and nearby MA have announced parking bans; check local information for updates.

Median accumulation forecast 1 inch, with probabilities 80% for at least 0.1 in, 48% for 1 in, 3% for 2 in, and near 0% for 4 in. Greater amounts are expected to the northwest of the metropolitan area and lesser amounts to the southeast toward the coast.