A snowy start to spring created slushy, wet roads for drivers heading out on the roads for the Friday afternoon commute. As much as 4 inches of snow already fell in parts of the tri-state region by late afternoon.
Snow began falling around 6 a.m. -- right as the AM rush hour got underway -- and intensified throughout the morning hours before turning to a slushy mix throughout the day.
Areas north and west of Philadelphia will likely to be get the most snow. Drexel Hill in Delaware County, Southampton in Bucks County and Mantua in Gloucester County already had more than three inches of accumulation by 3:15 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. The NWS issued a Winter Storm Advisory earlier in the day.
The precipitation will continue throughout the evening. It should taper off from west to east over the late afternoon, but expect steady snow across most parts until about 7 p.m.
Temperatures will hover around the freezing mark -- even after sunset at 7:14 p.m. "After dark, even if the snow is gone, the moisture is still lingering around," said First Alert Chief Meteorologist Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz.
Just a slight drop in temperature, combined with that moisture, could cause some icing or even freezing rain, he said. The threat of icy spots on area roadways will last until the sun rises Saturday morning around 7 a.m.
Officials are warning drivers to heed caution, especially on untreated roads.
By mid-afternoon, the snow already prompted dozens of schools to close early and the Philadelphia Union to postpone the team's match against FC Dallas to 4 p.m. Saturday. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie authorized early, staggered dismissals for all state offices beginning at 2 p.m.
- Noon to 5 p.m. -- Snow/rain mix (snow north and west/rain south and east)
- 5 to 9 p.m. -- Freezing rain/wintry mix ends
Expected Snow Totals
3 to 6 inches — Lehigh Valley, Poconos, upper Bucks and upper Montgomery counties
2 to 4 inches — Philly metro region, lower Bucks and lower Montgomery counties, Delaware and Chester counties, most of South Jersey
1 inch or less — Shore towns, southern Delaware
Saturday will start foggy, although milder. It will be mostly cloudy with a high temperature around 48 -- melting whatever snow remains. The clouds stick around Sunday, which will be colder and breezy.
And even though it will officially be spring, there's another chance of snow next Tuesday for areas south of the city.