By Katie Fehlinger
PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–Let’s look on the bright side. We’ve got a nice heads up on this one!
But yes, a large storm looms on the horizon. Winter Storm Watches are already slated to take effect late Wednesday night, a sign there’s high confidence that this storm will significantly impact our region.
What you need to know:
We haven’t seen much variation on WHEN the storm will get here or how long it will stick around. I still expect the first snowflakes to fall late Wednesday evening (after typical rush hour). It lasts all day Thursday, and we could be left with lingering precipitation (probably snow) in NJ early Friday morning as the storm pulls away.
In short, we’re expecting mainly snow for the northwest half of the Delaware Valley. Our chances are very good to see at least 6″ of accumulation. However, rain and ice may mix in through the daylight hours Thursday from I-95 on southeast toward the coast as temperatures get a chance to climb above freezing. If in fact that changeover to an icy mix occurs, we could accumulate a few tenths of an inch of ice.
Wind will likely be a bigger, more noticeable player this time around. There’s a possibility that parts of our region even meet blizzard criteria (3 hours or more of 35+ mph, considerable falling or blowing snow). Regardless, reduced visibility will be a problem during the storm.
Coastal flooding may be an issue with winds battering the coast, and of course heavy precipitation coming down through most of Thursday. (Most specifically, we’re watching the Thursday morning high tide.)
Travel: Locally, both Thursday AM and PM commutes will be affected (likely Friday AM as well) with roads and rails snarled during the storm. However, if you plan to fly, you might already see the impact since several major southern hubs are in the thick of the system through Wednesday (i.e. Atlanta, Charlotte).
Power Outages: Similar to last week’s ice storm, temperatures will be marginal with the freezing level for a time Thursday, which could lead to more icing. In addition, wind will be whipping as mentioned above. The combination of these factors may put a lot of people back in the dark, having just restored power from the last round of wintry weather.
Delays and Cancellations: Many districts will likely cancel school or at minimum issue delays. We’ll always have the full and most up-to-date list here: http://cbsloc.al/IADERg
Since it’s still several days away, it’s very likely we’ll be fine tuning the details – especially since even a minor shift in the final track could significantly change the forecast. Stick with us. We’ll keep you ahead of the storm!