Don’t plan on going anywhere from 5 to 9 a.m. Thursday in much of the area.
That’s the message that NBC10 First Alert Weather chief meteorologist Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz had for people in much of the Philadelphia region.
A half foot of snow or more could fall in a matter of hours Thursday morning as an intense storm quickly moves through the Philadelphia region as temps drop to freezing and below. By 4 a.m. the snow was already falling in Berks, Chester, Lehigh and Northampton counties and began to spread toward Bucks and Montgomery counties.
“It’s all about intensity of this,” said Glenn. “Because the snow is coming down so hard that is causing it to stick.”
Don’t be tricked if it only appears to be raining when you get up.
“It could go from heavy rain to, possibly, heavy sleet to heavy snow in a matter of minutes, which could cause problems,” said Glenn.
Due to the expected snowfall, all Philadelphia public and archdiocesan schools will be closed Thursday. All Philadelphia school district administrative offices and after-school activities will be canceled as well. A snow emergency was also declared for Philadelphia starting at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
New Jersey is also closing all state offices Thursday for non-essential employees.
Precipitation began to fall overnight starting as rain in some areas but changed to snow as temps cooled before daybreak. The snow could lead to blinding conditions in some areas right around the time of the morning rush.
The storm could pack an impressive punch of inches-per-hour with low visibility as thick snow falls. The intensity of the snow should make roads difficult to transverse and could lead to school delays and cancellations.
The storm should be gone by midday and the sun could even shine Thursday afternoon as crews work to clear snow from roads and sidewalks.
Lehigh Valley, Poconos, further northern and western suburbs: 6-10 inches
Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery counties and immediate South Jersey and Delaware neighborhoods: 4-8 inches
Central Delaware and South Jersey: 2- 4 inches
Far Delaware beaches and Jersey Shore: coating to 2 inches
And for anyone not believing we could get snow after a day in the 60s, it actually happened before – last in March 2007 when we got inches of snow a day after a day in the upper 60s.
The NBC10 First Alert Weather Team's forecasts are the most accurate in the Philadelphia area, says WeatherRate.com. The team brings 80 years of combined forecasting skill to NBC10 viewers.