The storm that wasn’t: Nor'easter misses Ridgefield

Despite being forecasted as the fourth nor’easter in the month of March, the wind and snow never arrived Wednesday, March 21.

“We dodged the bullet this time,” said Dick Aarons, the town’s emergency management director.

“We can’t say ‘oh those NWS (National Weather Service) guys don’t know what they’re talking about,’” he added.

Aarons said one house had a brief outage after a branch landed on power lines, but the problem was quickly fixed. According to Eversource’s power outage map, no residents were without power as of noon Thursday, March 22.

‘Steering current’

Asked why the storm did not bring the predicted snowfall of 12 to 15 inches, Aarons pointed to the fickle nature of the jet stream, which meteorologists sometimes call the “steering current,” due to its effect on pushing storms inland or out to sea as they make their way north.

Parts of Long Island received several inches of snow, Aarons said, as well as Connecticut’s seaboard — though the coastline fared a little better, because the Long Island Sound acts as a giant heat sink, he explained.

Aarons said a lot more snow fell on Ridgefield than people realized — it just never reached the ground.

“The storm was riding over a layer of dry air. It literally vaporized the snow as it came down,” he said.

Called virga by meteorologists, the event occurs when precipitation (rain or snow) condenses and falls from a cloud, but is evaporated in mid air before it hits the ground.

Ready to go

He said the town’s Emergency Operations Center was on standby throughout the storm in case it suddenly turned for the worse.

“Every agency was set up for the storm. Our liaison with Eversource was ready to go,” in anticipation of another large swath of power outages that tied up residential power lines a week ago.

Still, while the town missed the worst of the storm, Aarons said residents shouldn’t be complacent the next time meteorologists predict the big one.

“Be prepared to be prepared,” he said.