1 to 2 inches possible for Thursday
Given the timing, an otherwise unexceptional snowfall Thursday morning has the potential to become the most disruptive of the season so far in the Philadelphia area.
It wouldn’t take much to earn that accolade in the immediate Philadelphia area: Nature provided a snow wash in December, and those first three snows of January had all the toughness of average holiday decorations. Also, the timing of each event was relatively benign.
However, Thursday’s snow could start at dawn and begin to accumulate as the morning commute peaks. It would end by mid-morning, with temperatures falling into the upper 20 degrees during the afternoon, about 20 degrees lower than Wednesday.
It was time for the National Weather Service to issue a winter weather advisory, said Trent Davis, a meteorologist with the Mount Holly office. Forecast snow totals – up to 2 inches – would actually be below the advisory criteria, 3 inches.
“This will be our first peak-hour storm,” said John Krafczyk, maintenance supervisor for PennDot’s Philadelphia area.
READ MORE: In Philadelphia winters, expect anything
A complicating factor was the expectation that it would start with rain, and that would run counter to pre-treating the roads with brine, lest the rain wash out before the change, so teams from PennDot will avoid pickling, Krafczyk said.
Although the temperature rose above 50 degrees on Wednesday, given how cold it was, once the snow starts, “I don’t think it will have much trouble staying on the back roads,” he said. John Feerick, Senior Meteorologist. at AccuWeather Inc.
The rain and snow would ride a fairly powerful cold front that would have a little more juice than the mean front, forecasters said.
Snow totals would depend on the timing of the change, which would occur from northwest to southeast. Areas north and west of the city would see the first flakes, but more precipitation may occur south and east of I-95.
Subject to change, of course.
Anything that drops might stick around a bit longer this time around. “Cold air will be on its heels,” said Dean Iovino, chief meteorologist at the Mount Holly Weather Service office.
Temperatures are not expected to escape the 20s until Sunday.
READ MORE: Philadelphia winter forecast predicts early snow, cold December and 100% chance of uncertainty
A coastal storm is expected to turn into a major snowmaker over the weekend, but recent computer models are suppressing it to the southeast and suggesting it’s just a Cape May grazer around here. .
Subject to change.