Archive: January, 2011
The last of the heavier bands of snow is moving through the western suburbs, and then the snow should back off -- for awhile.
So far, reports of 4 and 5 inches are common, says Bob Wanton at the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly.
He expects light mixed precipitation this afternoon, and then the main event arrives.
Heavy snow continues through most of the region, and the snow line is pressing toward the Shore.
Snow is accumulating in a hurry in some places, enhanced by such strong updrafts that they are generating a phenomenon called "thundersnow."
Thundersnow is similar to a summer thunderstorm.
Obviously prompted by this morning's surprisingly vigorous snowfall, the National Weather Service is adusting its accumulation forecasts upward.
It's now saying that up to a foot could fall before it's all over before daybreak tomorrow.
That would make sense, given that so far up to 4 inches has been reported in the Pennsylvania suburban counties.
The National Weather Service hasn't posted totals yet, but 3 and 4 inches are being reported north and west of the city with moderate to heavy snow still falling in some areas.
Radar shows the snow-mix line continues to press north and west toward Philadelphia, and temperatures everywhere are very close to freezing.
The accumulating snow is supposed to shut off in the next hour or so and give way to lighter, mixed precipitation for most of the rest of the day.
So far, 1 to 2 inches of snow has been measured in parts of the region, and, yes, this was not supposed to happen.
The snow should back off in the next hour or two, said Bob Wanton, meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, but it may be too late to save the morning rush.
Mixed precipitation on the light side is expected the rest of the day, and the main event -- heavy snow with an additional 4 to 8 inches -- isn't due to show up until around 5 or 6. Thundersnow remains a possibility.
The snow break is not expected to last much longer, with Round 2 of the heavy snow due to get going about 6 p.m.
That's the latest estimate from Gary Szatkowski, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service, and he says the accumulation forecasts remain on track for tonight.
That would mean an additional 4 to 8 inches, and it's at least possible that some places will have received more this morning than at night.
Computer models have been all over the place on snow totals for the coming storm, but this morning the U.S. North American Model went on tilt.
The most-recent run showed a major snowstorm for the immediate Philadelphia area, and the National Weather Service is considering bumping up the advisories.
Right now, it has a winter-storm watch for Montgomery and Bucks Counties, but it says it is weighing extending it all the way into South Jersey.
Scattered snow placed a powdered-sugar coating on parts of the region this morning, and a period of heavier snow scooted to the northeast of the region.
It wasn't much, but it could be a big player tomorrow night, according to Louis J. Uccellini. He runs the National Centers for Environmental Protection and one of the nation's foremost winter-storm experts.
It already has had an impact on the forecasts.