TONIGHT: Mostly cloudy with a rain shower or two and an early snow shower in the Poconos; temps rise overnight. Low: 36
THURSDAY: Cloudy to partly sunny, windy and chillier with a rain or snow shower. High: 47
THURSDAY NIGHT: Windy and turning much colder with clearing; a few evening flurries possible mainly to the north. Low: 20
After the week started on a rather cloudy note with a little rain Tuesday, skies turned much sunnier Wednesday which also helped bring high temperatures back to very mild levels in the low 50s. Typical highs this time of the year should be in the mid to upper 30s, and we’ve only seen two 30-something-degree highs for the winter so far. This count looks likely to rise however in the coming days as there’s finally a long-lived cold snap in our future, one that will arrive late Thursday into Friday and stick around through most of next week. This cold snap will also set the stage for a winter storm Saturday, one that looks to bring accumulating snow to a good portion of the area before mixing with and changing over to rain, with perhaps a little ice thrown in there as well. As of now, if you have travel plans on Saturday, you’ll want to plan on things turning slick in the afternoon and evening.
A weak area of low pressure will slide by to our north overnight dragging a weak cold front across the area as well. Skies will turn rather cloudy tonight, and throughout the overnight, we can expect scattered showers to move across the area. Rainfall amounts should be very light with less than 0.10” the likely outcome in all locations. In the Poconos where it’s cold enough early, a snow shower or two is possible. Lows tonight will be rather mild, only dropping into the mid 30s to around 40 degrees. These numbers may actually be realized early in the night as well before they slowly start to rise late.
The aforementioned cold front will sweep off the East Coast early Thursday morning. Scattered showers from the overnight should be exiting the region by sunrise Thursday, but the chance for a rain or snow shower or heavier squall will then be possible throughout the day, especially during the afternoon and early evening. Cloudy to partly sunny skies can be expected otherwise as the more significant impact from the aforementioned cold front will likely be the delivery of a reality check in the form of temperatures. While highs on Thursday reach the mid to upper 40s, it’s likely first thing in the morning as temperatures begin to slowly fall in the afternoon. A wind advisory is also in effect for the entire are from Thursday morning through Thursday evening as blustery northwest winds gust as high as 45 miles-per-hour. These gusty winds will deliver some arctic air that will really make its presence felt by Thursday night and Friday.
Arctic high pressure over eastern Canada will give us plenty of sunshine and plenty of cold to wrap up the week, with highs on Friday only around 30 degrees despite lots of sun. Northwest breezes won’t be as gusty as they were Thursday, with the strongest gusts likely occurring in the morning before gradually diminishing during the afternoon. Even with the lighter winds however on Friday, wind chills will still be well below freezing throughout the entire day. The cold that returns for the end of the week will set the stage for our impending winter storm on Saturday.
All eyes are on Saturday for what could be the first accumulating snow of 2020. A light (for most) to moderate (higher elevations) snow continues to look likely across much of the area north and west of Interstate 95, with the typical winter storm stereotypes in place. The farther north you travel and higher up in elevation you go, the more snow you will see, like the Poconos and northwestern New Jersey. The farther south and east you travel and closer to the coast you get, the changeover to rain occurs sooner and limits snow totals. Right now, it looks like a period of snow will develop from midday to early afternoon on Saturday from west to east across the area. As a result, this shield of snow will be fighting the midday and afternoon sun angle, which is why snow accumulates less readily during the middle of the day than at night. Plus, the air will also be very dry initially so the snow will have to put up a fight just to reach the ground at the onset, which could also hinder accumulations. Despite these obstacles, some accumulating snow is likely for most, with a C-2” more likely towards the Interstate 95 corridor, 2-4” towards the Interstate 78 corridor, and then more than 4” along the Interstate 80 corridor through the higher elevations. Most of the snow looks to fall Saturday afternoon, with a change to a little sleet, and then rain, late in the day and through the overnight, especially from the Lehigh Valley south and east. Of course, timing and amount ideas can always change if the storm track or strength changes, so stay tuned as the remainder of the week progresses. Cold, windy, and drier weather follows our storm for Sunday.
START OF NEXT WEEK
The beginning of the new week should have relatively quiet weather with mostly dry conditions and a mix of sun and clouds outside of the occasional flurry or snow shower, certainly in areas north and west of the Lehigh Valley. The bigger story for the start of the new week will be the cold that lingers from the weekend. Highs may very well not even make it to 30 degrees, and to go along with that, brisk northwest winds will make it feel like it’s down into the teens.