By Llarisa Abreu

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Santa Claus will have a bumpy ride as he makes his way through the Philadelphia region Thursday night. A holiday storm is set to move into the region and the Eyewitness News Weather Team is tracking multiple hazards with the system.

Heavy rain, widespread intense wind, and the potential for severe thunderstorms are expected later in the day.

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Philadelphia has not recorded thunder on Christmas since 1978. Temperatures Thursday will be mild with rain expected to develop from west to east across the region but concentrated mainly west of the I-95 corridor prior to the afternoon.

Rain is expected to quickly pick up in intensity into the evening across Philadelphia. Winds are expected to start whipping around the same time.

A very strong low-level jet will move in overhead and allow for a prolonged period of strong winds.

Gusts of 40-55 mph are expected from 4 p.m. through 9 p.m.. Then gusts of 50-60 mph — and 70 mph near the coast — are expected from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Friday.

In addition to this region-wide threat, any severe thunderstorm that forms has the potential to produce locally damaging winds. With the threat of strong wind gust, power outages are likely Thursday night.

Use the first half of the day to plan ahead, charge your devices and keep flash lights on standby.

The rain will quickly wrap up and the very strong wind gusts will cease after the frontal passage Friday morning. It is likely to be over by 9 a.m. Christmas morning.

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Rainfall totals will be in the 1-3″+ range with locally higher amounts far north & west where snow melt may exacerbate the flooding threat.

Friday will start off mild but temperatures quickly tumble during the afternoon hours and wind chills fall into the 20s across many locations.

Be on the lookout for slick spots Friday night.

Any standing water from Thursday’s heavy rain could freeze over and make for locally icy conditions on roads and sidewalks.

Wind chills will fall into the teens — and single digits north & west — Friday night.

The winter chill continues under sunny skies through the weekend.


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