The first winter storm of the New Year is expected to bring in snow, wind, ice and bitter cold to the entire region starting tonight.
Two storm systems, one from the north and west and another from the southeast are moving towards the area and are set to collide later in the day on Thursday. A Winter Storm Warning is already in effect for most of Philadelphia and the I-95 Corridor with the exception of extreme South Jersey and Delaware where a Winter Storm Advisory is issued.
A light, but steady snowfall will begin Thursday afternoon and increase in intensity into the overnight hours. Models indicate it should taper off around 7 a.m. Friday, but gusty winds will make it appear as they the snow fall is continuing through the morning.
Estimated Snow Totals
Poconos - 6 to 10 inches
Lehigh Valley - 5 to 8 inches
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Philly, surrounding suburbs - 4 to 7 inches
Coastal Delaware, Jersey Shore - 2 to 4 inches
Also on Friday, an arctic blast will move in, causing freezing on untreated roads in bringing in dangerously cold temperatures.
"We have an arctic blast that’s going to be coming Friday into Saturday morning that may be the coldest that we’ve seen in many years. It will be dangerous cold, potentially life-threatening cold," NBC10 First Alert Chief Meteorologist Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz says.
Snow Time Line
Thurs. Afternoon - Light snow/wintry mix, 36 degrees
Thurs. Evening - Snow increases, 30 degrees
Overnight into Friday - Heavy snow/wind, 20 degrees
Fri. AM Rush - Snow/wind, frigid, 10 degrees
On Friday, temperatures are expected to hover in the teens for most of the day. Winds gusting to over 30 mph will send the wind chill well below zero, according to Hurricane.
THE COLDEST AIR
The coldest air is set to be in place early Saturday morning. In Philadelphia, a low of 5-degrees Fahrenheit is expected. Lows below zero-degrees will most likely be seen in the suburban and rural areas. For Mount Holly, models show a low of 3-degrees below zero in the early morning hours Friday.
Beginning late Thursday evening, the wind chill will make it feel even colder.
"The wind chill could be 10 to 20-degrees below zero in parts of the area by later Friday night into Saturday morning," Hurricane says.
At 20-degrees below zero, a person could potentially develop frostbite on uncovered skin by being exposed to those temperatures for just 30 minutes, according to the National Weather Service’s Wind Chill chart. Anyone outside in the cold weather will want to ensure they are properly bundled up.
Hurricane says the strong winds in the Philadelphia region could send trees and power lines crashing to the ground – resulting in power outages.
The winds are expected to diminish through the day on Saturday, but the temperatures will remain very cold, according to Hurricane. He expects the temperature to hover around 18-degrees Fahrenheit, with a wind chill of 10-degrees below zero, by the start of the Philadelphia Eagles playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday night.
TOWNS, COUNTIES PREPARING
In preparation of the extreme temperatures, the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders declared a "Code Blue" emergency for Wednesday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. through Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 at 12 p.m.
Montgomery County, Pa. also declared a "Code Blue" emergency from Monday, Dec. 30 at 9 p.m. to Monday, Jan. 7, 2014.
Officials in Camden County, N.J. also declared a Code Blue Weather Emergency effective from Jan. 3 at 6 p.m. to Jan 4 at 6 a.m. An emergency is activated when the predicted weather conditions are below the code blue weather limit.
On Thursday, Atlantic City officials added the coastal resort to the list of cities under a severe weather advisory. A code blue is in effect from Jan. 2 at 4 p.m. to Jan. 5 at 8 a.m.
Local governments issue such warnings when the temperature drops below 20-degrees -- temperatures which pose threats to life and limb to the homeless and those spending long periods outside.
Camden officials also suggest checking on relatives who are elderly or handicapped and neighbors who live alone.
“It is important that the most vulnerable among us are not left without heat or electricity,” said Camden County Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez.
Atlantic City officials say the city's police department "will take, as available, those wishing to go to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission where food and lodging will be provided."
The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for southern and central New Jersey and central and southern Delaware.
The warning says there is a potential for coastal flooding for the high tide Thursday morning with the possibility even more likely for high tide Friday morning.
New Jersey Transit has announced that it is cross-honoring all tickets on Thursday.
Hurricane and the NBC10 First Alert Weather Team are continuing to track the storm and extreme cold. Check back here on NBC10.com and NBC10 News on TV for the latest updates as the winter weather moves closer.