Groundhog and weathermen agree: No end in sight for winter

Nancy Miller, her daughter Helen, 3, and dog Roscoe, take a walk into the snow-draped woods of Bluff Point State Park in Groton, Tuesday, February 4, 2014.
Sean D. Elliot/The Day Nancy Miller, her daughter Helen, 3, and dog Roscoe, take a walk into the snow-draped woods of Bluff Point State Park in Groton, Tuesday, February 4, 2014.

The rodent was right.

Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter and with one storm down and two more to go this week any hope to get a reprieve from the cold is all but wishful thinking.

"You don't have to be a groundhog to guess that it's going to be a long winter," said Gary Lessor, a meteorologist with the Western Connecticut State University Weather Center. "Basically, we are getting an old fashion winter. This is the winter of the 1970s and '80s. For the last 25 years, we would see a couple of weeks of cold and then everything would warm up. This year the cold has maintained itself."

Monday's storm brought 5 inches to Norwich, 4.5 to Groton and 3.8 to Stonington. Don't put those shovels away just yet because Lessor said another storm is heading our way starting at midnight and continuing late into Wednesday evening.

Lessor said the storm will first develop into snow, changing into a wintery mix of sleet and freezing rain. Inland towns could expect higher snowfall totals of about 6 to 12 inches while coastal towns could expect 4 to 9 inches.

He said the weather models also show another storm developing Sunday into Monday, but he said it is too early to say what kind of impact it will have on the state.

So far the state has had 11 winter storms in the season that meteorologically starts Dec. 1 and continues until March 31. On average, there are about 15 to 18 storms.

Lessor said on average the region gets about 25.4 inches of snow; so far the Groton area has received 22.5 inches.

"Winter in the 1990s and 2000s didn't exist in its classic form," said Lessor. "In the last few years, we had a few huge storms that made it seem worse than what it actually was. We are not even close to getting to the end. There is no relief in sight. You are going to start seeing it in your utility bills. You are going to shell out more money to keep your house warm."

Lessor did offer some glimmer of hope. He said we could add a degree every week going forward to the overall temperature. Tuesday's typical high is 38 degrees while the low is 24 degrees.

"Once you hit mid-March, you really start to feel warmer days on a regular basis," said Lessor.

i.larraneta@theday.com

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