TODAY: Very windy and colder with snow of varying intensity. Some rain still in a few spots. Snow accumulation coating to a few inches south, more towards the north across higher elevations. High: 39
TONIGHT: A couple of snow showers in the evening; otherwise, remaining cloudy and quite windy. Low: 31
SATURDAY: Windy with periods of clouds and sun. An isolated flurry or snow shower possible mainly to the north. High: 45 Low: 30
***FLOOD WATCH in effect for Burlington, Lehigh, Warren, Camden, Hunterdon, Mercer, Bucks, Montgomery, Philadelphia, and Northampton counties through late tonight***
- ***BLIZZARD WARNING in effect for Pike County through late tonight***
***WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY in effect for Northampton, Schuylkill, and Hunterdon counties through late tonight***
***WINTER STORM WARNING in effect for Carbon, Monroe, Luzerne, Sussex, and Warren counties through late tonight ***
***WIND ADVISORY for Hunterdon County through early Saturday morning***
***HIGH WIND WARNING in effect for Berks, Lehigh, Chester, Delaware, Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Schuylkill, Lebanon, Lancaster, Mercer, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, and New Castle counties through early Saturday morning***
March is certainly starting off coming in like a lion as the saying often goes. A complex storm system is well underway across the region and as expected, we have been seeing a wide variety of weather conditions across the region. One area of low pressure moved across Pennsylvania and brought the region heavy rainfall going back to Thursday evening/night. Rainfall totals for many were between 1 and 2 inches. Temperatures for many last night did not drop below 40 degrees so obviously we were initially in the mild stages of this storm system. This is changing big time now as the low pressure system that moved across Pennsylvania has transferred its energy to a large and powerful ocean storm east of the Jersey Shore. That ocean storm will rapidly intensify as it meanders and even loops south of New England, becoming a powerful storm that will deliver strong and potentially damaging wind gusts to much of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic through early Saturday. Those winds are also dragging down colder air changing the rain over to wet snow as the offshore storm wraps up and throws back moisture into the cold air. The result is a heavy, wet snow that will accumulate for some of us, but accumulations will be elevation dependent, and also dependent upon precipitation rates, with higher elevations and areas farther north and east seeing the highest snow totals.
So let’s break down the impacts one at a time. Flood watches remain for the Lehigh Valley, Bucks and Montgomery counties, and then for a large part of central and northern New Jersey, for the potential of localized flooding especially along smaller creeks and streams and poor drainage and low-lying areas. The ground is already very wet across these areas, given the 5 to 7 inches of rain that many of us saw through a rainy February, so some flooding is certainly possible. The heavy rain has certainly ended, but excessive runoff could still certainly lead to flooding across the areas just mentioned.
Next are the high winds, with high wind warnings in effect for most of the area into early Saturday morning. As our ocean storm cranks offshore, north to northwest winds will likewise crank, and may gust anywhere from 40 to 60 miles-per-hour through early Saturday morning. Those high winds, coupled with the soft and wet ground due to the recent rain plus any wet snow that manages to accumulate, could combine to bring some trees, tree branches, or powerlines down, and at least some power outages can be expected. Brisk winds will remain throughout the weekend, but the damaging wind gust threat should be over by later Saturday morning into Sunday.
Now the snow side of things. For many of us, the predominant precipitation type now for the remainder of the day is snow. The intensity varies, but with the very strong winds it is creating close to whiteout conditions in some cases. Far eastern Pennsylvania into New Jersey will see the heaviest snow with areas further west such as Berks County seeing the snowfall rates and accumulations really drop off. The Poconos, northeastern Pennsylvania, and northwestern New Jersey stand the best chances of seeing the most snow, with 6 inches or more of snow likely over the higher elevations. The snow will be elevation dependent, meaning the higher up you go, the more snow you will see and the more it will readily accumulate as the air will also be colder.
Farther south towards the Lehigh Valley, Bucks and Montgomery counties, and central New Jersey, 1 to 3 inches of wet snow is expected to accumulate although amounts of 3 to 6 inches are certainly possible in eastern and northern parts of the Lehigh Valley, especially across higher elevations. When the snow comes down at a good clip in some of these areas, roads could certainly get snow covered and become slick. Farther south and west from there, a slushy coating to 1 inch is possible from Reading and Lancaster to Philadelphia and the rest of southern New Jersey. The exception is if any heavier bands from that wraparound moisture can persist for a few hours in any one spot, which could add another slushy inch or two in any location this happens. Any treated or well-traveled roads should be wet overall, unless you’re traveling to points north and into the higher elevations where the snow will be heavier and temperatures colder. There, travel will be most slick and some roads could be snow covered.
Along the shore, strong winds and large waves will batter the coast and lead to some tidal flooding Friday into Saturday. Beach erosion will also be a concern up and down the coast as well.
Some leftover snow showers and flurries Friday night will give way to some clearing by the weekend, with the blustery winds the only element of our storm lingering as the ocean low slowly exits stage right and out to sea. The weekend will be seasonably cool and certainly much cooler than we were through most of late February, with afternoon highs only in the mid 40s, which will feel colder when that brisk north-northwest breeze is factored in. Winds still may gust to 40 miles-per-hour on Saturday before diminishing a little further by Sunday, with the amount of sunshine increasing as the weekend progresses.
The cooler pattern should persist through next week as well with high temperatures remaining in the mid 40s, about average for early March. Another chance of rain or snow arrives by the middle of the week around Tuesday night and Wednesday.
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|Record||72°F March 19, 1945||-1°F March 19, 1967|