By Steve Strouss
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There is no good way to travel this evening. Roads are treacherous, sidewalks are snow covered, planes are cancelled or delayed and trains and subways are running very late or not at all. If you can stay indoors, that is the way to go.
The heavy snow this afternoon has brought the Philadelphia region to a standstill. Some areas along the I-95 corridor will dig out from over a foot of snow when all is said and done. This winter storm is far from over and will go down in history as the biggest storm in the city since the blockbuster “snowmageddons” of 2009-2010.
A record daily snowfall for this date, Jan. 21, was already set in Philadelphia when the snow measured at 3.5″ at 1 p.m. today. This broke the previous record of 3.4″ set nearly 100 years ago in 1917. As of 5 p.m., Philadelphia Intl Airport recorded 6.5″ and that number is climbing fast.
A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 6 a.m. Wednesday. South Jersey and Delaware will end up with 6-12″ and up to 6″ will accumulate in the Lehigh Valley and Poconos. In addition to the impressive snow amounts, arctic air will blast in behind the storm tonight and that will send wind chill values below zero by Wednesday morning.
The low pressure system responsible for this mess is strengthening and will move farther off the coast tonight. As the storm spins northeast, the bands will drop heavy accumulations at a rate of 1 to 2 inches an hour. This intensity will continue through the evening hours and traveling is downright dangerous with reduced visibility and blowing and drifting.
The snow will taper off after midnight from west to east but as the storm departs temperatures will plummet into the single digits overnight. To add insult to injury, along with the blowing snow, we will wake up to vicious wind chills Wednesday morning. Northwest winds gusting to 35 mph will make it feel more like 0 to minus 10 degrees at times. A Wind Chill advisory goes into effect 1 a.m. Wednesday.
Temperatures Wednesday afternoon won’t climb out of the teens, and that will rival the ‘Polar Vortex’ temperatures we experienced just a couple weeks ago. The cold air will remain in place through the end of the week with temperatures in the teens and twenties and there is another chance for snow on Thursday as our next system approaches from the Great Lakes. The Eyewitness weather team will keep a close eye on the snow and frigid air, but for now, stay safe and warm!