A major snowstorm -- with blizzard conditions and storm surges on par with Superstorm Sandy -- is coming, so now is the time to get ready.
The NBC10 First Alert Weather Team issued a First Alert Weather Warning for Friday night into early Sunday as the storm could drop more than one foot of snow on parts of the Philadelphia region and at least 10 inches on much of the area.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf declared a state of emergency soon after the National Weather Service declared a Blizzard Warning for Philadelphia, the immediate suburbs, Wilmington and most of South Jersey from 7 p.m. Friday through 10 a.m. Sunday.
The key to how much snow some areas see could be where the snow/rain line winds up -- does it get to Philly and Wilmington?
The latest NBC10 First Alert Weather forecasting computer models show the storm moving into the region late Friday and lasting into early Sunday. The brunt of the storm should come Saturday making travel difficult, if not possible, said NBC10 First Alert Weather meteorologist Bill Henley.
"If you don't have to go somewhere, you shouldn't be going anywhere," said Henley.
Snow totals could vary from a few inches to more than one foot of snow. Glenn sums it up:
"I think 10+ inches is going to cover most of the area," said Glenn.
- 14+ Inches: Wilmington; northern Delaware; Chester County; and western South Jersey
- 10+ inches: Philadelphia; I-95 Corridor, Camden city; Trenton; northern and western suburbs; South Jersey closest to Philly; and central Delaware
- 6+ inches: The Poconos, Lehigh Valley, higher elevations; and southern Delaware
- 4+ inches: Jersey Shore (significant coastal flooding expected); and southernmost Delaware
"The real questions are at the edges -- up toward the Poconos and Lehigh Valley -- will the snow be heavy enough? And right down the shore, how much (snow) is going to be mixed in with rain," said Glenn.
The NBC10 First Alert Weather Team will be refining and updating predictions as more information becomes available.
8 p.m. to midnight - Snow starts south to north
Midnight to 4 a.m. - Snow continues to spread
4 a.m. to noon - Heaviest snow, winds increase.
Noon to 8 p.m. - Snow inland (mixing with rain south and east) with possible blizzard conditions.
8 p.m. to early Sunday - Snow tapers off, very windy.
Mike Dunn, deputy communications director for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, said city trucks started treating some streets Wednesday night.
"At this point, it is all about being prepared," he said.
PennDOT mechanics were busy making sure trucks were cleaned and in good repair so all equipment is ready to go whenever the snow starts falling, spokesman Gene Blaum said.
"We've used virtually no salt," so far this season, he said. "But winter isn't over."
Flooding at the Shore
Besides the snow, there is also a concern at the Jersey Shore due to the combination of a high tide, full moon, a wintry mix and onshore wind gusts up to 60 mph. The storm surge could be the worst since Superstorm Sandy.
High Tide Times for Jersey Shore and Coastal Delaware
Saturday: 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.
Saturday: 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Sunday: 7:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. (this could be the worst tide when it comes to flooding.)
If you live at the Shore or have property there, you should be taking precautions now to minimize damage from coastal flooding. Flooding from the bay could also impact parts of Kent and Sussex counties in Delaware.
Wind is going to be a component to this storm. Blizzards have defined wind (35+ mph), snow and visibility of a 1/4 mile or less. A watch means it could possibly happen in the Philadelphia region.
That kind of wind could cause power outages, especially if there’s heavy wet snow. Even if we dodge the snow-to-rain changeover bullet, there will be several warmer hours during the storm where we could see gloppy, heavy big flake snow.
"The type of snow might be different at different times during the storm," said Glenn.
Toward the end of the storm, temps will fall again and snow will get lighter and fluffier. You’re going to want to get on that wet snow early before it gets buried and freezes solid. It will be much harder to shovel after that.
"This is one you're going to want to get ahead of and clear as much as you can on Sunday because it's going to freeze solid on Monday morning," said Bill.
The lesson here … stay tuned and check in with the NBC10 First Alert Weather Team on air and on NBC10.com as the storm approaches.