Storm Living Up to Potential in Some Areas, Not in Others | NBC 10 Philadelphia
Winter Weather Center

Winter Weather Center

March's Winter Storm

Storm Living Up to Potential in Some Areas, Not in Others

Heart of the storm happening overnight and through the morning

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    The peak of the storm is past us and will be the weakest so far this winter. (Published Friday, Feb. 26, 2010)

    Yes, this rare storm has changed its track and, yes, we are dodging the worst this storm has to offer. But it's still a significant snowstorm to be reckoned with.

    Heavy snow is going to be the problem for the Lehigh Valley and the Pocono mountains. Philadelphia and its suburbs will still have some snow, but the strong, gusting winds will be more of a concern.

    Inside Weather: What to Expect in the Morning

    [PHI] Inside Weather: What to Expect in the Morning
    The height of this tricky snowstorm will come overnight and during the morning rush. (Published Friday, Feb. 26, 2010)

    "Parts of our area will still see a good bit of snow and the whole area is seeing a lot of wind," meteorologist Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz says. "But this is clearly not turning into a major storm in the Philadelphia area."

    Temperatures dipped below freezing as night fell Thursday, allowing the snow to begin to stick to roads and hard surfaces.

    Why We're Downgrading This Storm

    [PHI] Why We're Downgrading This Storm
    Glenn explains why we're seeing such a major change in the snowstorm, which will still bring significant snow, but no longer enough to cripple the region. (Published Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010)

    "Bands of heavier snow will continue to spin around the low pressure center, leading to quick accumulations in some areas," he says. "The peak of the storm should last into at least part of the A.M. rush."

    The winds will continue to increase as the storm intensifies overnight, bringing gusts of up to 50 m.p.h. This may be the bigger issue in Philadelphia and the suburbs where the strong winds could topple trees and power lines.

    The north and west will still see the higher accumulations. Some spots in the Poconos aready have more than a foot on the ground as of 11 p.m.

    Also, a Winter Storm Warning and Wind Advisory remains in effect for most of the area until noon Friday.

    Here are a few accumulations:

    • Pocono Summit, Pa. -- 19 inches
    • Easton, Pa. -- 4.8 inches
    • Allentown, Pa. -- 7.5 inches
    • Mount Laurel, N.J. -- 2.9 inches
    • Philadelphia -- 1 inch

    Here's what you should expect in for the morning rush and the latest snowfall predictions:

     TIMELINE

    TIMEEXPECTED CONDITIONS              
    10 p.m. Thursday - 7 a.m. FridayHeaviest Snow/Wind
    Winds 30-40 m.p.h.
    Gusts up to 50 m.p.h.
    7 a.m. - Noon Friday

    Snowfall Lightens Up
    Winds 25-35 m.p.h.
    Gusts up to 45 m.p.h.

    Noon - Friday eveningLight Snow
    Winds 15-25 m.p.h.
    Gusts up to 35 m.p.h.

    SNOWFALL

     

    LOCATIONESTIMATED
    TOTALS
    Extreme Southern Jersey and Southern DelawareLess than 2 inches
    Wilmington, Del. and parts of South Jersey3 to 5 inches
    Philadelphia, some Pa. suburbs and northern sections of South Jersey4 to 8 inches
    Lehigh Valley and Trenton8 to 12 inches
    The Poconos 12 to 20 inches


    WHY THE CHANGE

    Now, let's get a little explainer as to how this major storm went from crippling to significant for most of our area.

    The track of this fourth big storm of the season was tricky to predict from the start. As late as Wednesday, the storm was set to strengthen out at sea and then move back east -- an atypical action, but possible -- before hooking around.

    But the storm moved further out to sea than expected, shrinking the heavy snow area and extending the timeline, Glenn says. A hard to predict storm, changing direction -- who would've thunk?

    "These storms also have sharp contrasts in snow amounts over a short distance, making the slightest difference in the track significant," he said.

    What didn't change is that the northern and western suburbs -- Lehigh Valley and Poconos -- will see the worst. Snow covered roads will be the norm in the morning.

    In the Philadelphia area, the morning rush will also be a little dicey with slushy surfaces on major roads, so it'll be best to take your time.

    But this is nothing like the past three storms and the fact those systems hit their mark, may have helped fuel the feeling that this storm was going to cause so much trouble.

    Another factor that leads to lesser snow amounts this time of year is the angle of the sun, says Glenn.

    "As we get towards March, the sun's higher in the sky, the sun's rays are stronger and it takes a lot more to overcome for the snow to stick on the roads," he says.

    "It's gotta come down real hard or its gotta be real cold for it to stick on the roads."

    This storm proves to be a great example of how the sun can affect snow accumulations. Light snow fell for 18 hours straight in Philadelphia since arriving and by late Thursday there was only officially 1 inch of snow on the ground.

    Weather-Related Links: