DEMHS recommends that towns review your local Emergency Operations Plans. A major winter storm is expected to impact all of southern New England Wednesday night into Thursday morning.  The major computer models (NAM, GFS and EURO) are forecasting that two low pressure systems will form by Wednesday morning.  One along the Gulf coast and another off the U.S. Southeast coast.  These lows are forecast to merge together into a strong winter storm near the Virginia coast by Wednesday at midnight. This storm is then forecast to move north along the Delaware coast up to the New Jersey coast in the pre-dawn hours on Thursday.  The storm is then expected to turn to the east and move south of Long Island during rush hour Thursday morning and then out to sea by Thursday afternoon.  The following forecast is based on a blend of the three computer models:

Wednesday Afternoon: Becoming cloudy with highs in the upper 20’s to around 30 F.  Northeast winds gusting to 20 - 25 MPH by late afternoon.

Wednesday Evening and Overnight: Snow is forecast to spread into the state from southwest to northeast between 8:00 – 11:00 PM.

The snow is forecast to become very heavy at times between 1:00 AM - 5:00 AM with snowfall rates between 1.5” – 3.0” per hour.  The snow should be dry and will stick to the roads very quickly.  Low temperatures are forecast to range from the low to mid 20’s.  Strong northeast gusting to 30 - 40 MPH at times will also cause some blowing and drifting of the snow reducing visibility to near zero at times.  Driving overnight will likely be very hazardous.

Thursday Morning: Moderate to heavy snow early in the rush hour is expected to taper off to light snow by 9:00 AM.  The impact on the morning rush hour is expected to be moderate to major especially on roads that are not fully plowed overnight.  Continued north winds may cause some additional blowing and drifting of snow thru the rush hour.

Total snowfall (see map) is forecast to range from 12” – 18” across most of the state.  Note: Any slight change in the track of this storm could still significantly change the snowfall forecast.

The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security will continue to closely monitor this approaching storm. Another update will be sent out at noon on Wednesday.