Wednesday's winter storm: timing and how much to expect

Wednesday's system

What was a Winter Storm Watch has now been elevated to a Winter Weather Advisory and even a Winter Storm Warning in parts of Rhode Island.

The track of the system has stayed relatively consistent with original forecasts. A cold front from our west will be absorbed by an area of low pressure riding towards our region from the south. As that system develops, it will be just to the south of southern New England on Wednesday morning. The precipitation is going to be the steadiest during this time of the day.

This is a manageable amount of snow. Yes, you'll have to shovel the sidewalk and clear the driveway, but the major concern is the timing of this system. The first flakes come just after midnight and most of the region will have steady and moderately heavy snowfall rates during the morning commute. Snow will be accumulating on the roads, espcially secondary roads, between 4-10am (aka prime time for traffic). While we can't forecast school delays, it would seem reseasonable for districts to delay start times to ensure everyone stays safe.

Snow totals haven't budged much either as higher resolution information has come in. Coastal locations will likely see a quicker transition to a rain/snow mix meaning there will be lesser values. Most in our region will range from 2-5" with the exception of northwestern RI. Areas north and west of I-295 could measure 5"+.

To summarize, this system WILL NOT produce the same amount of snow we saw 2 weeks ago. But, the timing of the snow will be tough. Be prepared for a slow commute and delay announcements from school districts.

-Meteorologist Zack Green

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