First Major Nor’easter Expected Wednesday Night
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By Kathy Orr
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — They have been scarce around here this season, but Nor’easters are notorious in our area during the winter months. They are known for howling winds, (forecast to gust to 40 mph at the shore), heavy snow and rain. Because of the ocean influence, drawing in milder air, the precipitation mixes and creates a forecasting challenge.
Mixing is really the key to this storm. The precipitation is expected to begin as snow, (by midnight Thursday) then mix with sleet & rain, then back to snow by Thursday evening.
It will be difficult to gauge snowfall totals because of the melting/compacting. In areas north and west of the I-95 corridor, where there is little or no mixing, we will be dealing with the heavy, wet snow. The warm air will try to move north and west, but heavy snow will pull down cold air from higher levels in the atmosphere, making more snow. There will be a period of time, between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. that the precipitation lightens, then it will come back and change to snow, as the storm pulls away.
With new information into the weather center, we are narrowing our forecast range.
6-10″ of snow seems most likely from Philadelphia/I-95 corridor on north and west, with the chance for some 10″+ amounts in our western suburbs (looks most likely in Lancaster, N. Bucks, N. Montgomery, Chester, up toward LV.)
3-6″ possible for interior South Jersey with a morning mix to rain, and 1-3″ for coastal areas. For the coast, the bigger impacts will be heavy rain, strong winds, and coastal flooding.
Ice will not be a player in this storm, but any weakened tree branches or power lines will be susceptible to the heavy wet snow and the gusty winds that will accompany the storm. Areas that are still recovering from the ice storm may need to be on high alert again.
We will keep you ahead of the storm on CBS 3 and CBSPHILLY.com. You can also follow me on Twitter @ KathyOrrCBS3.