Through all the cold this week, all eyes have been on a late week coastal storm, still expected to develop Friday night into Saturday and become quite strong as it lifts up off our coast. For the heart of our area, from the Lehigh Valley through Berks and up into the Poconos, we'll be living on the edge of this storm with only light, fluffy fringe snows expected (2-4" for parts of Berks and most of the Lehigh Valley). The farther east you travel into New Jersey, especially along and east of the Interstate 95 corridor towards the shore, the ante is upped for more significant snows, with the coast again expected to get the most. Some occasional light snow will start on Friday, although not directly due to our storm but a cold front instead. The storm snow begins later Friday night and continues into at least the first half of Saturday. For many of us, it's a coating to a few fluffy inches of some light and powdery snow. But farther east into New Jersey and even towards far southeast Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley, snow totals will steadily increase, especially close to the shore. Gusty winds will accompany our snow Friday night into Saturday, and those winds will lock in the cold air through the weekend, with some sunshine returning on Sunday behind our departing storm. February begins with a steady warming trend later next week.
An approaching cold front will lead to a mainly cloudy and cold Friday, with highs in the lower and middle 30s. And that cold front will spark a little occasional light snow at times, which may offer up a coating of "pre-storm" snow in spots. Any snow will be light and scattered, and not directly associated with our coastal storm, which won't get cranking off our coast until Friday night.
FRIDAY NIGHT AND SATURDAY
Here's the window for our coastal storm to impact us, but for many, we'll be living life on the edge of what will be a strong ocean storm. The highest snow totals will be up over Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where locally 1 to 2 feet of snow and blizzard conditions are expected. Closer to home, the highest totals will be along the New Jersey and Delaware coasts, with up to a foot possible. But the farther inland or northwest you travel, the lighter the snow and the less accumulation. Because the air is so cold and dry, it will be a very light, fluffy, powdery snow that is easy to brush away. And with that "fluff factor", most of our area is fair game for a fluffy coating to a few inches of snow. Central and eastern Berks county and the Lehigh Valley along with points south and east will end up with 2 to 4 inches of fluffy snow, with 4 to 8 inches possible closer to and east of the Interstate 95 corridor. Closer to the shore, over 8 inches of snow is most likely with some places up to a foot, and it's here that totals could go higher if some heavier snow bands from the storm can slide onshore. It will be increasingly cold and windy as well with the steadiest snow from the storm later Friday night through the first half of Saturday.
It will be a partly sunny, brisk, and cold end to the weekend with highs in the mid 20s and a chilly northwest breeze still lingering. However, the cold will start to ease next week as February begins, with a bona fide thaw likely the second half of the week.
EARLY NEXT WEEK
After a seasonably cold and dry Monday to wrap up January, February should begin with a slow and steady warming trend that takes us through most of next week, with widespread 40s starting on Groundhog Day on Wednesday. However, rain chances will increase later in the week.