Near Blizzard Conditions Possible for Weekend Storm

Schwartz: All of the potential for a major snowstorm

By Vince Lattanzio
|  Friday, Dec 18, 2009  |  Updated 5:21 AM EDT
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Forecast: Snow Totals Could Increase

Aleta L. Wojculewski

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Forecast: Snow Totals Could Increase

Preliminary snow predictions could climb even higher if the storm moves closer to our area or slows.

Forecast: Snow Totals Could Increase

Preliminary snow predictions could climb even higher if the storm moves closer to our area or slows.
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If you're planning to travel or finish up the rest of your Christmas shopping Saturday, you may want to rethink your plans.

That's because a major winter storm is set to come roaring into the area this weekend, bringing with it near blizzard conditions and heavy snow.

"We're talking about very high accumulations, especially for December," NBC Philadelphia chief meteorologist Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz said.

The National Weather Service expanded a Winter Storm Watch notice from just the city and south to our entire area -- including the Lehigh Valley. The watch will begin Friday evening and last until late Saturday night.

Snow could begin to fall as early as Saturday morning and last until Sunday afternoon. Here's a timeline:

TIME

CONDITIONS

Saturday 6 a.m. Snow starts South
Saturday 9 a.m. Snow spreads North
Saturday Noon Heavier snow begins to fall
Saturday 6 p.m. Heavy snowfall peaks South and East
Sunday 6 a.m. Snow ends across the area


Updated computer forecasting models increase the potential for high snow accumulations for Philadelphia, South Jersey and Delaware. Coastal areas and Northern and Western areas such as Allentown, Reading and Lancaster have a medium chance of seeing major totals.

Here is a preliminary prediction of snow accumulations:

LOCATION

EXPECTED ACCUMULATION

Parts of South Jersey and Southern & Central Delaware 10-20 inches
Philadelphia, Wilmington, Del., and Trenton, N.J. 6-10 inches
Northern and Western Suburbs 3-6 inches


There is still a possiblity that the totals could continue to climb as the storm moves closer to the area, Schwartz said.

Sign up for weather and breaking news email alerts and check out the latest track of the storm at the NBCPhiladelphia.com Weather Center.

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