Winter storm watch in effect for Thursday evening

FI-snow-flakeUPDATED TUESDAY 9 P.M. — The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for Fairfield and New Haven counties from Thursday evening through Friday afternoon.

Now forecasters are leaning toward the worst of the storm hitting Thursday evening.

Heavy snow and winds could drop four to eight inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service. Winds could be 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph and temperatures in the teens and single digits, according to the weather service.

During the storm, visibilities could be down to less than a quarter of a mile. The snow, along with wind-blown snow, “will be capable of producing dangerous travel conditions,” according to the weather service.

A winter storm watch means there is potential for snow, sleet or ice accumulations that might impact travel during the specified time.

But in the immediate, as 2013 winds down and 2014 begins, expect the weather to get much colder, snowier and windier over the next few days.

New Year’s Eve could look like Christmas Eve did in some areas of southwestern Connecticut, with snow squalls and treacherous driving conditions tonight before a potentially big, 36-hour long snow and ice storm hits Connecticut later this week.

Scattered snow showers are expected with a cold front passing over southwestern Connecticut late Tuesday afternoon, New Year’s Eve, into the early evening.

“A few of these could be in the form of snow squalls, producing brief whiteout condition in heavy snow and strong winds,” the National Weather Service said in a hazardous weather statement issued Tuesday morning, Dec. 31.

“Any area experiencing a snow squall will have potential for flash-freeze conditions,” the service said. “Temperatures will likely start out around or just above freezing — then drop as a slushy coating of snow falls — dropping further into the 20s in the wake of the squall.”

Then on New Year’s night, “a prolonged period of snow is expected (from) late Wednesday night into Friday morning,” according to the weather service. “At least six inches of snow is possible — with blowing and drifting of snow due to strong winds” across southwestern Connecticut.

Along with the expected snowstorm will come the coldest conditions the area has seen in a while.

“Bitterly cold conditions are then expected in the wake of the storm Friday into Friday night,” the weather service said. “Wind chills of 5 to 15 degrees below zero are possible early Friday morning and then once again Friday night.”

On New Year’s Eve, the high is expected to be 32 with a low into the teens — along with winds of 15 to 20 mph and gusts up to 30 mph in the evening.

Wednesday’s high is expected to be about 30 with a low of 25 and snow developing around midnight. Thursday’s high is expected to be in the mid-20s — with winds of 15 to 20 mph and gusts up to 30 mph during the day — as snow picks up in the area. More snow is expected Thursday night as the temperature drops to mid-teens and more snow falls. The wind chill could be as low as 5-below-zero.

On Friday, more snow is expected in the morning and the high isn’t supposed to reach 20 degrees. The wind is expected to remain fierce as wind chills could make it feel like it is 5-below-zero — while the sun is up. Once the sun goes down on Friday, forecasts call for a low of 3 degrees and wind chills as low as 10-below-zero.

Saturday is supposed to be sunny with a high of 24 and low of 16. Then on Sunday it could feel like a heat wave when the temperatures return above freezing — reaching nearly 40 degrees in the area before falling to 31 at night when some more snow might fall that night into Monday morning before turning to rain.

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