PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A quick-hitting southern low Tuesday night led to a messy evening commute but when all was said and done, the mild temperatures ahead of the storm kept accumulations limited to our coldest suburbs. A few spots north and west of Philadelphia recorded up to two inches of snow but for most, it fell as “white rain” — snow that melts as soon as it hits the warmer ground.
In the wake of that system, much colder air will be blasting in from Canada on Wednesday.
As that cold moves over the Great Lakes, it will set off the lake effect snow machines. With winds gusting up to 45 miles per hour in our area, those snow showers and squalls may be carried far south and east enough to impact our area.
A snow squall functions much like an afternoon thunderstorm in summer, but with snow instead of rain.
It can go from sunny to whiteout conditions in a matter of minutes, with brief intense snowfall and howling winds. Snow can quickly cause roadways to become slick and drastically reduce visibility for drivers.
Snow Squall … pic.twitter.com/WtFl0BWPro
— Jim Donovan (@jimdonovancbs3) January 8, 2020
It’s nearly impossible to pinpoint where these squalls will form, but warnings will be issued for any intense squalls so stay alert to rapidly changing road conditions, especially during the midday hours.
A snow squall warning is in effect until 9:15 a.m. for western counties outside Philadelphia.
— Matt Peterson (@MPetersonWx) January 8, 2020
In addition to the potential for snow squalls, we will be under a wind advisory throughout the day on Wednesday, with gusts in some spots reaching 50 miles per hour.
This may be strong enough to bring down tree branches and cause scattered power outages and will make our high of 40 feel like the 20s most of the day.