TODAY: Blustery with snow, some heavy, creating difficult travel. 6-12 inches for much of the area, but some see 12 plus inches. 3-6 inches far west and less towards the shore High: 35
TONIGHT: A leftover snow shower or two in the evening; otherwise, mostly cloudy and brisk. Low: 29
THURSDAY: Brisk and chilly with intervals of clouds and sunshine. A rain/snow shower possible to the north. High: 38 Low: 24
This is the second winter storm in five days to impact us, and the second coastal storm in five days. Unlike the last one which featured strong damaging wind gusts as its main course, this coastal storm should have less wind, but quite a bit more snow, certainly for areas outside of the Poconos.
Even though the Spring Equinox is less than two weeks away, mother nature is certainly reminding us that it is still officially winter.
Tuesday featured a mix of sun and clouds and high temperatures near 50 degrees in several spots. Clouds thickened and increased overnight as the beginning stages of our storm system started to unfold. An initial wave of moisture worked in from our west as some light rain showers and sleet mixed with and changed over to some light snow.
Several locations across southeastern Pennsylvania did pick up 1 to 3 inches of snow from this first wave. Low temperatures were marginal with many areas struggling to even get below freezing. So very early on this morning, we had just minor slippery conditions with a lot of roads just on the wet side. That should be changing significantly later.
The heart of our storm system is still yet to come. An area of low pressure quickly developed near the Virginia/North Carolina coastal border, and this low pressure system will deepen and strengthen tracking to the northeast throughout the day. The coastal low will be positioned somewhere near the Jersey shore and Long Island later this afternoon, throwing Atlantic moisture into cold air and producing rounds of heavy snow.
The heaviest snow is most likely to occur through mid to late afternoon. Bands of very heavy snow with snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour are likely, especially across far eastern Pennsylvania and much of northern New Jersey. Winds will increase as well, but not to the level of the intense gusts we had with Friday's storm.
This time winds will blow briskly from the northeast sustained up to 20 mph with gusts as high as 30 to 40 mph. While not as strong as last week, the combination of the blustery winds and the heavy and wet snow accumulating on power lines and trees - some weakened by last week’s storm - means that additional power outages and tree damage are possible.
No big changes have been made to the forecast. We still anticipate a widespread 6 to 12 inches of snow from north and west of the Interstate 95 corridor through most of eastern Pennsylvania including the Lehigh Valley and the Poconos, as well as all of northern New Jersey. Within that large area there will likely be a swath of more than 12 inches of snow, especially where those heavier snow bands set up shop for a few hours.
Some heavier snows may also extend west into parts of Berks and Schuylkill counties and eastern sections of Lancaster and Lebanon counties, where up to 6 inches of snow is forecast. We need to closely monitor a sharp gradient on the western edge of this storm, however, where the snowfall rates drop off drastically.
This could definitely play a part in cutting down on totals there. Even further west from there, amounts will continue to diminish rather sharply. South and east of the I-95 corridor, rain and sleet are expected to factor in for a longer time and therefore less snow is expected, with 3-6 inches across interior south Jersey just southeast of Interstate 95 and 1-3 inches southeast from there, with perhaps very little along the shore.
Snow should end from southwest to northeast early Wednesday evening as our coastal low pressure system moves into coastal New England. Winds will remain brisk Wednesday night and shift to the northwest behind the departing storm. Thursday and Friday look largely dry and rather breezy with west-northwest breezes continuing.
It will be a little chilly for early March with highs in the upper 30s. Our average high for this time of year is in the mid 40s, so we’ll be running below that with a brisk breeze adding an extra chill. A stray snow shower or two can’t be ruled out late Thursday or anytime on Friday, but no accumulation is currently expected.
The second weekend of March looks nice with cool sunshine on Saturday and then some increasing clouds on Sunday. Another ocean storm is expected to develop on Monday, but latest indications are that it may stay safely to our south and east and slide out to sea underneath us. A chance of rain and snow is kept in the forecast just in case for late Sunday and early Monday, but hopefully that can be taken out if these southerly trends continue with this next storm.
The cool pattern looks to remain indefinitely through at least the first half of next week. Be safe everyone and don't forget to check all of our different platforms throughout the day for plenty of updates on the storm, whether it be here on the web, social media, the AccuWeather Channel, and 69News.
Allentown, PA 18102