It will turn out to be the tale of two seasons over the next 24 hours. A spring/winter battle zone is setting up across the entire Delaware Valley for Wednesday into Thursday morning.
A powerful storm system will be moving through here by late Wednesday, on the western flank heavy snows will fall across sections of the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, and western New York state. As they get pounded with frigid winds and heavy snows, the Philadelphia region will experience unseasonably warm air being pulled northward as temperatures surge well up into the 60s today and would not be surprised if one or two places kiss 70 degrees.
But this will be a very quick and fleeting spring tease. A powerful and dynamic arctic front will be charging toward us during the late afternoon and early evening hours Wednesday. The leading edge of the front will produces showers and thunderstorms and we do stand a chance of severe cells racing across the region. Right now southern New Jersey and Delaware have the highest risk of severe storms.
Spring temperatures come crashing down!
Around midnight Thursday, winds will increase dramatically and temperatures will plunge sharply and a few areas to the north and west could see some light snow accumulations especially across the Lehigh Valley. The real story, however, will be the dramatic fall in temperatures accompanied by winds gusting to 40-50 mph which could lead to scattered power outages across our region by early Thursday morning.
Temperatures on Thursday will be some 35-40 degrees colder than Wednesday and that's without the wind chill factor.
If you factor in wind chills we're talking feel-like temperatures that are 65-70 degrees colder. That hurts just writing this.
Also during the early morning hours on Thursday be on the lookout for possible flash freezing as rapidly falling temperatures will instantly freeze moisture that has not yet evaporated. Untreated sidewalks and secondary roadways will be especially vulnerable.
Readings on Thursday will remain in the 20s and winds will howl throughout the day.
By Friday, temperatures will quickly moderate back into the 40s.
The next significant time frame to watch is Monday, St Patrick's Day as computers still indicate a coastal storm, but the latest computer trends have been suppressing it more off the coast. Let's hope this trend continues as I think we pretty much have had enough of snow.
Can you say "Luck of the Irish?"
We shall see.