PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The salt trucks are out as winter makes an early appearance. There’s been a mad dash to the stores, and not necessarily for Christmas. Philadelphia is ready for winter and the first significant snowfall in nearly two years, but when exactly will it snow?


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Light snow starts around 2 p.m. Periods of heavy snow will develop in the evening, lasting through some of the overnight hours.

The heaviest snow likely will fall between 6 p.m. Wednesday and 2 a.m. Thursday. Snow will stay persistent but lighter from 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. Thursday. Light snow will continue but begin to taper off after 4 a.m. Expect to see light snow through 9 a.m. Thursday.

West Chester, Berks, Upper Bucks, Montgomery Counties and Lehigh Valley

Light snow starts in Chester and Berks Counties as early as 1 p.m., with Upper Montgomery County getting in on the light snow by 2 p.m. By 3 p.m., snow should be coming down across the whole region, including now Upper Bucks and the Lehigh Valley (I-78 corridor).

Periods of heavy snow could develop in these areas around 4 p.m., moving in from west to east. Warm air will intrude in the evening and a period of sleet/mix will start around 7 p.m. in Chester, Berks and Montgomery Counties. By 8 p.m., the sleet should move into Upper Bucks and continue to spread north into the Lehigh Valley by 10 p.m.

The sleet/mix will continue until 2 a.m. for the Lehigh Valley, Chester, Berks and Montgomery Counties. It will linger in Upper Bucks County until closer to 3 a.m. A transition back to all snow will then be likely as cold air spills back into these areas. Light snow will then be possible through mid-morning on Thursday.

Philadelphia, immediate Pennsylvania suburbs and North Delaware

Light rain/snow mix starts in eastern Chester and Delaware Counties and northern Delaware between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Rain/snow mix moves north into Philly, Bucks and Montgomery Counties between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. with a fairly quick transition to all snow.

Snow will continue for most of these areas until 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. when sleet will start to mix in, starting across northern Delaware and Delaware County. By 7 p.m., we should see sleet in Philly and by 8 p.m., the sleet will likely overtake lower Bucks and Montgomery Counties.

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Expect the heaviest precipitation to fall as we transition to sleet and rain/mix across these areas. The sleet will persist until midnight Thursday, a brief period of freezing rain cannot be ruled out as we transition from the sleet to all rain between 12 a.m. and 2 a.m. Thursday.

The rain could push as far north as the Pennsylvania Turnpike, likely overtaking all of Delaware County at some point as well as Philly. A mix of sleet/rain will be more likely north of the turnpike and into lower Bucks County. Sleet will remain the primary precipitation type in Chester County. After 2 a.m. Thursday, cold air will wrap back into these areas a transition back to a period of all snow will happen between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. Light snow should then continue through mid-morning on Thursday.

NJ suburbs, inland South Jersey, shore towns

Light rain/snow will develop along and west of I-295, with plain rain likely east/southeast of 295 between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. This pattern will continue until around 5 p.m. when areas of sleet should mix in along 295. The sleet/rain mix will continue until 10 p.m. when we likely transition over to all rain.

The rain will persist until around 3 a.m. when we could start to see the cold air move back and push communities along and west of I-295 back to an area of sleet/mix. A brief period of wet snow could be seen toward the end of the event as well, likely after 4 a.m. and lasting until about mid-morning on Thursday.

The heaviest precipitation will fall in the evening and overnight during the time we likely see rain or mostly rain in these areas. Expect there to heavy rain throughout the event across much of inland South Jersey, through the Pine Barrens and down toward the shore as well.


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