WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Though Westchester County and Fairfield County did not get the foot of snow predicted to hit late Sunday, they could continue to see cold temperatures and possibly snow into April.
A couple of factors kept the snowstorm from hitting our area as predicted. The storm was forecast to hit the West Coast, travel across the country and drop snow on the East Coast. But Brian Edwards of Accuweather.com said cold, dry air from the north kept the storm off to the south. While areas farther south still received some snow, it was weaker than expected.
Where the storm hit also played into forecasters' ability to accurately predict its effects, said Gary Lessor, assistant to the director of meteorological studies and the Weather Center at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, When storms hit in the northern section of the West Coast, meteorologists have more data to work with than when they hit farther south like this one did, he said.
Computer models regularly go out 16 days, but Lessor said the closer you get to a storm hitting, the easier it is to accurately predict what will happen. Within three days, meteorologists can usually predict with about 70 percent to 80 percent accuracy, and get the best results within a couple days. Except for this storm, the predictions this winter have been pretty accurate, he said.
“This storm was an aberration compared to some of the other storms we’ve had this winter,” Lessor said. “Now that we’re beginning to spend more money, in the last five years our chance of accurately predicting a five to seven day forecast has more than doubled.”
Temperatures are expected to stay cold this week, with a possibility of some snow Saturday or Sunday, Edwards said. Temperatures throughout March are expected to be two to three degrees below what they normally are, according to Lessor, with the possibility of cold lasting into April. There’s also the possibility of more snow this month and even next month.
“We think winter is going to continue,” Lessor said.
Though this winter isn't the worst on record, it has been much harsher than usual.
Edwards said the snowfall in White Plains has been 56.9 inches this year, well above the normal of 22 inches. Temperatures have been below normal since November, making the winter feel unusually harsh.
This February was five degrees below average, Lessor said, and January was about two-and-a-half degrees below average.