Winter: So what's next?

For the snow records and all the talk of the “polar vortex” and minus-20 wind chills, through Tuesday January temperatures in Philadelphia have averaged just 1 degree below normal.

But given the forecast for the rest of the month, it would be safe to predict that January will end up in the solidly below-normal column.

Whether Philadelphia will add to its hearty 22.5 January snow total isn’t nearly as clear, but a couple of chances are on the virtual horizon at least.

On Thursday, a traditional Alberta Clipper – nothing like Tuesday’s hybrid storm – will approach the region, and forecaster say it could set off a couple of snow showers.

Alberta Clippers are so named because the originate in western Canada. Typically they are pretty well dried out when they get here.

A stronger clipper could produce a coating to an inch around here on Saturday, said Brian Wimmer, meteorologist with AccuWeather.

Of more interest, he said, is a system early in the week that some computer guidance suggests could re-group off the Atlantic Coast.

“I would peg that one to keep an eye on for possible funny business,” he said.

As we’ve written, this season already has set a record for producing three 6-inch-plus snowfalls before Feb. 1 in Philadelphia.

Since records have been kept in 1884, Philadelphia never has recorded four such storms.

That Monday threat might not be anything but a gleam in a computer’s eye, but Tony Gigi, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, says he is confident that at some point that fourth significant snow is coming.

“Locally,” he said, “This is an historic winter.”

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