March snowstorm No. 4 will start Wednesday morning, won't stop till Thursday

The fourth winter snowstorm this month is expected to dump at least 5 inches and as many as 14 inches on southeastern Connecticut on Wednesday afternoon and evening. Paulie Perez Hughes is pictured measuring snow accumulation on the roof during the March 13 snowstorm. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
The fourth winter snowstorm this month is expected to dump at least 5 inches and as many as 14 inches on southeastern Connecticut on Wednesday afternoon and evening. Paulie Perez Hughes is pictured measuring snow accumulation on the roof during the March 13 snowstorm. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

Snow could start falling on southeastern Connecticut on Wednesday morning and could leave up to 2 feet on the ground in inland New London County, as well as cause minor coastal flooding and possibly some more power outages.

The storm predicted Wednesday will be the fourth New England nor'easter this month, following up on three others that brought wet, heavy snow that caused widespread damage to trees and power lines across the state.

On Tuesday afternoon the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning that begins at 6 a.m. Wednesday and continues into Thursday morning, predicting heavy snow, ice accumulation and high winds.

The total amount of accumulation Wednesday night depends on when the wintry mix or rain predicted for the afternoon turns into heavy snow, said Gary Lessor, a meteorologist and assistant director with The Weather Center at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.

"The time of the changeover is going to be critical," Lessor said.

After a wintry mix gives way to snow by about 11 a.m. Wednesday, coastal New London County will see anywhere from 6 to 12 inches.

On Tuesday morning the National Weather Service predicted minor to moderate coastal flooding at high tide along the coast of the Long Island Sound. Astronomical high tides are lower now than they were during the previous March storms, Lessor said, so the risk of any major flooding is less likely.

Winds could reach up to 50 mph, he said. The snow likely will start out heavy and wet but might not cause quite as much tree damage and power outages as the last two nor'easters, which caused hundreds of southeastern Connecticut residents to lose power, as well as disruptions on highways and rail lines.

"The snow will once again stick to the trees, but we should be drying out through the storm," Lessor said.

Eversource crews already were preparing Tuesday to handle any damage the storm might cause to power lines and will be positioned around the state ready to respond Wednesday, spokesman Mitch Gross said.

"We're well aware of the ever-changing forecast," Gross said. "Whatever Mother Nature decides to send our way, if there are issues, we will be ready to respond. ... The ball's in Mother Nature's court."

The National Weather Service warned Connecticut drivers to expect travel during the storm to be "difficult to impossible, especially during the evening commute." 

"Expect significant reductions in visibility at times," the NWS report continued. "A combination of heavy snow and wind gusts up to 40 mph could bring down tree limbs and power lines, creating power outages."

The weather service report indicated the storm could move farther to the north and west, which "could result in more rain and sleet over (Long Island) and coastal CT and heavier snow totals elsewhere." If the storm moves more south and east, southern Connecticut would get more snow, it said.

The Day will be tracking closures and postponements ahead of and during the storm.

m.shanahan@theday.com

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