Friday, December 26, 2014

Snow, 2:30 p.m. update

So far, so benign, but the storm is young.

Snow, 2:30 p.m. update

Wet snow falls in streaks at City Hall in Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon.  (Laurence Kesterson / Staff Photographer)
Wet snow falls in streaks at City Hall in Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon. (Laurence Kesterson / Staff Photographer)

 

So far, generally 1 to 3 inches has fallen across the region. That's less than expected, and not the only surprise with what is shaping up as perhaps the most peculiar storm of the winter.

Conditions still are expected to worsen after dark with dropping temperatures and increasing winds. The snow is forecast to intensify later on, and parts of the region might even experience blizzard conditions before this all winds down tomorrow.

But so far conditions have been surprisingly benign, even picturesque. It appears that the roads will be merely wet for the evening commute.

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Temperatures have stayed stubbornly near or just above freezing, so even though it has been snowing all day in most -- but certainly not all -- the region, not much has stuck to paved surfaces. The flakes have been fat and watery.

As of 1 p.m., officially Philadelphia hadn't yet added a flake to its record-breaking seasonal snow total. By contrast, 4 had been measured at Pomona.Here are the latest reported snow totals.

The generally light totals in the immediate Philadelphia area, plus the fact that some of the snow that attached itself to tree branches has melted or been blown away, may stave off a power-outage crisis, according to PECO's Michael Wood.

A sharp snow-shutoff boundary set up just to the south and southwest of Philadelphia during the morning, ending the snow in southwestern Chester County and just about all of Delaware.

The National Weather Service has tweaked its forecast and is now looking at accumulations more in the 6 to 12 range in the region, down from the earlier 8 to 16. Here is the updated accumulation map.

Glenn Schwartz, at NBC10, is going with 4 to 8 in the immediate Philadelphia area with 3 to 6 to the south. Remember the good old days when that actually would have been considered a snowstorm?

At Accu-Weather, Henry Margusity holds that it is way too early to start dissing the storm. The coastal low is intensifying more deeply than anticipated, he said. Plus, it looks as though Philadelphia will be in a good position for heavy snow later on, and could snow through most of tomorrow.

"You have yet to get your storm," he said, pointing out that an upper-level area of low pressure interacting with the nor'easter was still over Ohio. "You still have a lot of storm to go."

Winds are starting to get friskier. At 2 p.m., a gust to 28 m.p.h. was reported at Philadelphia International Airport. A high-wind warning is in effect from 4 p.m. today until 1 p.m. tomorrow for gusts up to 50 m.p.h., higher at the Shore.

 

  

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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