By Steven Strouss

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Seems like winter began in the Delaware Valley before Winter officially arrived. The first flakes of the season accumulated on grassy surfaces tonight from the Poconos to the city and beyond. Just yesterday the mercury hit 70 degrees in Philadelphia and now a quick hitting storm system has changed rain to snow and temperatures have plummeted into the low 30s. The infamous piece of the ‘Polar Vortex’ is to blame for providing the cold air while a developing coastal low provided the moisture. Icy patches may develop overnight especially North & West of the city where temperatures are expected to fall below freezing. In addition to dodging icy spots, early commuters will have to prepare for temperatures in the low 30s and wind chills in the 20s. Despite increasing sunshine, Friday’s high temperature will not climb out of the mid 40s and that is typical of mid December. (Average high this time of year is 57).

If you are a fan of cold and snowy weather you are really going to enjoy this winter. The chill will linger and another Arctic invasion will arrive next week. Snow amounts this time around were modest but there are bound to be much larger storms in the weeks and months ahead. We are calling for 34-40″ of snow this winter in Philadelphia. Last year was our 2nd snowiest winter with 68″ of snow and the winter of 2009-2010 will be remembered as the snowiest ever with 78.7″.