Wednesday, February 10, 2016

POSTED: Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 10:36 AM

By now we're guessing that you can't quite remember the look of bare ground.

For those to the north and west, or living on hills and/or north-facing properties, get used to the white. And the lifespan of a plow pile is roughly the square root of infinity.

But for lots of folks living in the lowlands along the Delaware River, by as early as this time next week chances are good that you won't have to work from memory.

POSTED: Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 11:43 AM
Snow in he mighty hills of Roxborough; this, too, will disappear. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer))

No doubt someone has a scientific or mathematical explanation for this, but after mega-events such as the weekend blizzard, short-term subsequent threats tend to fizzle.

It’s almost as though the atmosphere has overspent its energy and needs to take a time-out.

Areas west of the Delaware River received a scare Tuesday morning when the National Weather Service posted a “freezing rain advisory.” Informal surveys indicate that of all the precipitation types in the known universe, freezing rain is the least-favorite.

POSTED: Monday, January 25, 2016, 4:20 PM

The Great Melt has begun, mostly at a glacial pace, but the snowpack is gradually sublimating and liquefying.

That is going to be a persistent and dangerous issue for the next several nights as melt-water refreezes after dark on driveways, roads, and sidewalks. We would not be surprised to see an uptick in emergency-room slip-and-fall visits.

Snow, even stuff as dense as what is out there now, has a certain porosity, notes Sarah Johnson, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Mount Holly.

POSTED: Monday, January 25, 2016, 11:46 AM
Todd Hassett, of South Philadelphia, tries to free a stranded motorist on Ritner Street near Ninth Street on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016. (TRACIE VAN AUKEN/ For The Inquirer)

At this point, it might qualify as drizzle in the ocean, but an offshore system could add a few more inches to the region’s prodigious snow piles later this week.

“We’re watching,” said Patrick O’Hara, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, and the prospect is “raising eyebrows.”

But unlike last week, when the global computer models were in uncharacteristic agreement about what was coming, this week they are back to their old fractious, squabbling ways, he said, offering differing outcomes.

POSTED: Thursday, January 21, 2016, 5:32 PM
A woman shovels snow on Joy Street during a winter blizzard in Boston on Feb. 15, 2015. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder/Files)

The “blizzard watch” posted in the region certainly is an attention-getter, and with good reason. Around here a blizzard truly is a rare event.

The first requirement, of course, would be a major snowstorm, something that qualifies as at least infrequent.

Next, the required conditions for Philadelphia would have to be observed at the measuring station at Philadelphia International Airport.

POSTED: Wednesday, January 20, 2016, 3:40 PM
Most likely snowfall. (National Weather Service)

For days computer models have been in general agreement about a major snowstorm for the coming weekend.

Often, they fall hopelessly out of agreement in the days leading up to a storm, but thtis time around, the disagreements were mostly minor.

Wednesday afternoon, the folks at the National Weather Service said they have seen enough, and have hoisted the season's first winter storm watch.

POSTED: Wednesday, January 20, 2016, 12:58 PM
This chore will return this weekend. ( (Ellen F. O'Connell/Hazleton Standard-Speaker via AP))

It’s almost show time, and for all the talk and speculation about what’s coming, we feel safe what people really want to know about the snow can be summed up in two words – How much?

The National Weather Service in Mount Holly is taking on that question publicly with a specificity unrivaled by most of the private outfits.

Its latest snowfall map calls for about 7 inches in and around Philadelphia by 7 a.m. Saturday, with snow continuing into the night.

POSTED: Tuesday, January 19, 2016, 6:17 PM
Cherry Hill Wegmans during last January's snow scare. (Elizabeth Robertson / Staff Photographer)

Yes, the folks at the Wegmans supermarket chain have heard all about the storm threat, and they are ready for whatever does or doesn’t come.

Wegmans has 88 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts, some of them in the key threat zones.

Thus the chain indeed is stocking its stores with milk, bread, and eggs, those sine qua nons for snowstorms, says Jo Natale, the vice president for communications.

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

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