That Pesky Rain/Snow Line Strikes Again

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By Brian Dooling on December 30, 2012, 9:13pm Last modified: January 7, 2013, 5:46pm

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It happened again! That pesky rain/snow line made it to the Connecticut coast once again on Saturday December 29, 2012, as a deepening low pressure system was spinning to our southeast. Normally this position would have given us all snow along the coast in Connecticut but once again the pesky rain/snow line inundated the coastline like an unwanted party guest at a New Years Eve party. Although the ultimate culprit behind rain/snow lines generally falls to the warm waters of Long Island Sound, many other factors take part in ruining a snowlover's day! From wind direction to warmer layers aloft, even terrain has it's part in pushing that 'just warm enough air' inland to change the snow to rain. As a kid I remember vigilantly looking out the window during class, just waiting for the rain to finally change over to snow in hopes of an early dismissal. It seemed like every year the battle between rain and snow sets up right over the Connecticut coastline and this year is no different! However with that said the winter of 2010/2011 (especially January 2011) seemed awfully different. The jet stream and overall pattern allowed for storm after storm, yet was far enough south that we wouldn't get that punishing east wind that would change the snow to rain. As a snowlover it was nice that year not to have to worry about every minute of each storm changing to rain at any moment based on a simple wind direction!

This year the pesky rain/snow line seems to be showing up an awful lot. The storm on Christmas Eve was yet another example where snow eventually changed over to a mix and sprinkles along the shore. If you are a snowlover that lives along the coast, you sure know the agony of looking out your window and seeing rain while just a few miles inland the snow continues to pile up! Unfortunatly as a snowlover and a weather geek, I also understand that the rain/snow line is just part of the microclimate of the Connecticut shore (which I talk about in “The Long Island Sound Curse”). Although the rain/snow line was not suppose to be an issue during Saturaday's storm, a stronger than anticipated low pressure helped to push the warm air just far enough north to hit the shore, especially points east of New Haven. Before snowlovers get too depressed, the shoreline did end up changing back over to snow around 4pm and with it some pretty good accumulations. As the artic air makes a visit during the first week of 2013, the coldest since last winter, the rain/snow line won't be an issue, however it may be too cold for storms. As systems are forced further south by the Jet Stream and the cold, dry atmosphere. So here i'll wait for the next coastal storm and my eyes will be watching out for that pesky rain/snow line!    

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Brian Dooling

Town: Milford, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since February 2012.

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