Changing forecasts suggest lighter but uncertain storm on the way

Jeremy Place of Morrone Excavation uses a compact track loader to rebuild the sand dune at Jim's Beach Trailer Park on Atlantic Avenue in Westerly on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. The nor'easter this past weekend washed the sand of the dunes into the trailer park lot and Place spent the day Tuesday rebuilding them in preparation for the next storm, expected Wednesday. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Jeremy Place of Morrone Excavation uses a compact track loader to rebuild the sand dune at Jim's Beach Trailer Park on Atlantic Avenue in Westerly on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. The nor'easter this past weekend washed the sand of the dunes into the trailer park lot and Place spent the day Tuesday rebuilding them in preparation for the next storm, expected Wednesday. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

New London — A storm that last week looked like another powerful nor’easter on the horizon took an uncertain turn by Tuesday afternoon, altering forecasts and offering a potential reprieve for southeastern Connecticut residents.

Gary Lessor, meteorologist and assistant director at The Weather Center at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, said he expects that New London County will see a lot of rain Wednesday, likely bookended by snow.

He added, though, that the question becomes: "How much snow?"

Differences between the European and American models for the storm have left meteorologists uncertain. However, Lessor said he believes the New London area is unlikely to get more than five inches of snow.

Winds also are not expected to reach anywhere near last week’s high of 90 mph, said Lessor, who forecasts that wind gusts may reach 40 mph through Wednesday afternoon, with the possibility of peaking at 50 mph.

Meanwhile, the severity of snowfall for the rest of Connecticut is even more uncertain.

The western part of the state is expected to see far greater snowfall, with Lessor forecasting between 7 and 14 inches. But the middle of the state is "anybody’s guess," he said.

"Ten miles here, 10 miles there will make a monstrous difference in snowfall totals," he said of the storm's path.

Lessor’s forecast throughout the rest of the week for southeastern Connecticut is comparatively mild.

He forecasts temperatures generally hovering near or above 40 degrees during the week, and about the mid-40s through the weekend. He also said there may be some snow showers Thursday and Friday, but snowfall in southeastern Connecticut still is expected to be far lighter than in the northern and western parts of the state.

But while forecasts may be shifting, Eversource work crews still are working full-throttle to address outages brought on by last week’s powerful storm.

"Job No. 1 is getting power back on from last week’s nor’easter," Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross said.

As of Monday, Eversource crews had replaced more than 550 utility poles and strung more than 100 miles of new overhead lines, but outages still existed in many towns throughout the state, with the majority of those being in Fairfield County, Gross said.

As of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, there were three customer outages in Ledyard and North Stonington, two outages in Montville and Groton, and one outage in Stonington and New London, according to Eversource’s online Outage Map.

Gross said that many of the remaining repairs are more complex, requiring six to eight line workers to restore power.

However, although forecasts have softened in parts of the state, the company plans to keep its employees and out-of-state crews available to address the coming storm.

"We’re planning to be ready to go (Wednesday)," Gross said. "It is all hands-on deck and it remains that way."

c.clark@theday.com

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