Another winter storm brewing Tuesday night into Wednesday

Cool, dry next 2 days

MONDAY: Sunshine and some clouds with a chilly breeze. High: 45

MONDAY NIGHT: Clear and seasonably cold. Low: 25

TUESDAY: Some sunshine giving way to clouds. Rain and snow likely developing at night. High: 44 Low: 31

  • WINTER STORM WATCH from Tuesday evening through late Wednesday night for: Berks, upper Bucks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, western Montgomery, Northampton, and Pike counties in Pennsylvania and Hunterdon, Sussex, and Warren counties in New Jersey.

High temperatures Monday will be in the low- to mid-40s, around average for early March. Just like the past few days, however, the blustery breezes will add an extra chill and make it feel cooler than it already is. Sunshine will be mixed with some clouds at times, but the week will begin cool and dry.

Winds will finally diminish overnight, and a mostly clear and seasonably cold night will be the result, with low temperatures in the mid-20s. That will be followed by another dry day on Tuesday, as sunshine gives way to increasing clouds. Winds will finally be lighter and somewhat variable as well.

Then comes the most unsettled and most challenging part of the forecast. While the setup is similar to last week, this week's storm will not intensify as quickly or deeply as its predecessor, and wind will not be as much of a factor. Significant snow, however, is likely for some of us, and to highlight the potential for accumulating snow, the National Weather Service has issued winter storm watches for Tuesday night and Wednesday for Berks County, the Lehigh Valley, upper Bucks and Montgomery counties, the Poconos, and northwestern New Jersey. Winter storm watches indicate the "potential" for six inches or more of snow across the watch area.

The storm is likely to begin as rain for most of us Tuesday night, except perhaps in the Poconos and the higher elevations of northwestern New Jersey, where snow will be the predominant precipitation type from start to finish. As our storm develops and brings down colder air, however, rain is likely to change to snow for everyone later Tuesday night and Wednesday.

Then, the question becomes how much snow can we expect, and the answer will be determined by the track of the storm. Ultimately, there's two possible scenarios as things stand right now. First, the storm could track closer to the coast, which would keep most of our area in the steadier snow throughout the storm. This would, therefore, be the snowier of the two outcomes and lead to a sizable and plowable snow for most of eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey, with the steadiest snow falling later Tuesday night and most of Wednesday.

The other solution is for the storm to take a farther east and more offshore track, which would, in turn, keep the steadier snow farther east as well. If this were to verify, much of New Jersey would still see some significant snow, but amounts would decrease as you travel farther west, and much of eastern Pennsylvania would see only some lighter fringe snow.

Our going snowfall forecast is still subject to change based on the model uncertainty, but currently has 6-12" of snow from Allentown and the eastern Lehigh Valley and eastern Poconos through upper Bucks/Montgomery counties on east into most of North Jersey, where the highest confidence for six inches or more of snow exists the farther east you travel. West of Allentown, through the western Lehigh Valley, the western Poconos, eastern Berks, and then lower Bucks/Montgomery counties through the Delaware Valley, 3-6" of snow is the current projection. South and east of through south Jersey, 1-3" of snow is forecast, as there will be more mixing or plain rain. And then farther west, through western Berks and western Schuylkill counties, amounts will decrease, perhaps sharply.

In either case, there will be a very sharp western cutoff with this storm, much like last week, so wherever that cutoff sets up, it will go from little snow to significant snow over a short distance and that will lead to a tricky forecast. Both outcomes are still possible at this point, and hopefully the disagreement among our computer models will be sorted out in the next 24 hours and the correct solution will become clear. In either case, some snow and slick travel is likely for the middle of the week across the entire area, so those with travel plans should plan accordingly.

It will still be breezy on Wednesday, with east to northeast breezes around 10 to 20 miles per hour, occasionally gusting over 30 mph. While not nearly as strong as last week's storm, the combination of those breezes plus the heavy and wet nature of the snow could lead to some renewed power outages across parts of the area, especially where the heaviest snow totals set up.

Thereafter, things quiet down for the rest of the week as drier weather returns, although the cool and brisk weather will persist with partly sunny skies and temperatures in the low-40s for Thursday and Friday. While next weekend begins dry, yet another potential storm could be in the cards by Sunday into early next week, with yet another chance of rain and snow.

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Allentown, PA 18102




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