Stinging winds and crashing temperatures on Saturday almost certainly will have some effect on the players during the Eagles-Falcons playoff game.
And the rapidly falling temperatures also could affect the throngs tailgating before the game and driving home after it. The forecast high for today, near 60, happened right after midnight. Though by mid-morning, the temperature had fallen to freezing as the atmosphere transitions from April back to January.
“Temperatures are going to drop rapidly,” said Michael Silva, meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly.
And that could cause issues.
In recent weeks, it seems that that region’s paved surfaces have been so salted that walking in a parking lot could raise your blood pressure.
By the time Friday’s rain stopped, that was no longer the case.
“Everything will be all gone,” said Brad Rudolph, spokesman for PennDot, which might have to redeploy the salt trucks.
The temperature fall-off will occur northwest to southeast, reaching the freezing mark around daybreak in Doylestown.
At the stadium complex, tailgaters might prefer hot chocolate and coffee to other options as wind chills head to the teens. Temperatures will be in the upper 20s by kickoff, with stiff northwest winds 15 mph-plus throughout the game. Gusts as high at 30 mph are possible Saturday.
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For a variety of reasons, a bigger concern might be the homebound commute after the game, said Lance Franck at the weather service in Mount Holly.
By game’s end, any standing water from the one to two inches of rain overnight and the half-inch of liquid from melted snow could have flash-frozen, making for slick spots.
“That’s really our concern for tomorrow night,” he said Friday.
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The people at PennDot are aware and have a “game plan,” Rudolph said.
One thing working in motorists’ favor is Friday’s warmth; temperatures rocketed into the 60s Friday morning. Paved surfaces will take a while to re-chill.
Also, winds will be picking up Saturday morning, and that will evaporate some of the water.
Temperatures aren’t expected to get above freezing until Tuesday, with a chance of snow Monday night and Tuesday.
The cold spell is due to continue until late in the workweek, although it won’t be as brutal as the one earlier in the month. On Jan. 6, 7 and 8, the official highs in Philadelphia didn’t get out of the teens, the first such three-day stretch since February 1979, noted Dave Dombek, meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc.
This chill will be followed by a more prolonged period of thawing as the upper-air flow becomes more west-to-east, bearing milder air from the Pacific, Dombek said.
It is unclear how long the warming will last.
Friday’s rain caused some significant road-ponding, and a flood advisory was issued for Northeast Philadelphia.
However, it did have one benign effect.
Perhaps unnoticed by most people in a season in which snowfall is nearly twice normal, the region has been extraordinarily dry, something the U.S. Drought Monitor has noticed. It has placed the region in its “abnormally dry” zone.
The 1.23 inches measured at Philadelphia International Airport was almost as much as had fallen the entire month of December.
It just so happens that through Thursday, about half the precipitation since Dec. 1 was in the form of snow. Usually, it’s less than 20 percent.