GET THE LATEST: Click here for the updated track, estimated snow totals and expected impact of the nor'easter.
The fourth nor'easter to batter the Philadelphia region this month is providing the meteorological equivalent of a one-two punch bringing snow, wintry mix, rain and damaging winds to the region.
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This latest winter storm is moving in before noon Tuesday — which is ironically the first day of spring — and a large part of the area is expected to get 4 to 8 inches of heavy snow and some neighborhoods could see more due to "thumps" of heavier snow by the time it moves out more than 24 hours later.
A First Alert for the entire region goes into effect at noon Tuesday — just minutes before spring arrives — and lasts through Wednesday. The heavy, wet snow along with strong wind gusts could bring down power lines.
"There is a lot of moisture coming into play in this one," NBC10 First Alert Weather meteorologist Bill Henley said.
- Track the storm with the NBC10 First Alert Weather Live Interactive Radar
A mix of rain and snow developed in Delaware and South Jersey and then moved toward Philadelphia Tuesday morning. Temps aren't expected to get past the mid-30s Tuesday and winds will make it feel like the mid-20s.
By late morning Tuesday, some suburban school districts including Lower Merion, Owen J. Roberts and Perkiomen Valley schools opted to dismiss early.
The mix of snow, sleet and rain continues through the day Tuesday with the mix line moving north and south of Philadelphia.
In the first round of the storm, we could see about 1 to 4 inches of snow actually stick to grassy and colder surfaces across most of the area. More snow could fall and melt on roads and sidewalks and sleet is possible in and around Philadelphia.
Commuters should expect a messy commute home Tuesday night.
The storm could take a little break overnight before Wednesday packs the biggest punch with the nor'easter intensifying off shore. The moisture should all turn to snow in time for Wednesday morning rush in all places but the shore and strong winds are expected throughout the day in the entire area.
So how much snow could we see overall? Here's a breakdown (with the caveat that these anticipated amounts could go up or down):
2 to 5 Inches
Jersey Shore including Atlantic City and Cape May; Southern Delaware
4 to 8 Inches
Central Delaware; Ocean and Salem counties; eastern Burlington County; the Lehigh Valley, including Allentown; upper Bucks and Montgomery counties; most of Berks County.
6 to 12 Inches
Philadelphia; upper Delaware, including Wilmington; most of Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties; western parts of Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties; Mercer County; lower Berks County.
Besides the heavy, wet snow, 1 to 2 inches of windswept rain is possible along the coast. Winds will also be gusting between 35 and 50 mph at the coast on Tuesday. Wednesday gusts could top 60 mph. Inland we could see gusts of 30-40 mph.
Power could be knocked out by the wind, falling tree limbs and heavy snow.
Travel for both the morning and evening commutes on Wednesday is expected to be difficult — even treacherous. Snow will still likely be coming down for your trip home.
Moderate coastal flooding will be a concern for Wednesday around 11 a.m. Minor to moderate flooding is possible on Tuesday as well.
Winter storms this late in the season are not rare, but prove to be trickier to forecast. The computer modeled forecasts have been disagreeing about many aspects of the storm (some models have been contradictory). So, that means things can change every few hours.
We'll be updating our forecast with the latest data as we get it, so it's important to check back often with NBC10 on TV and online to stay informed.