A three part winter storm began during the a.m. rush Wednesday in many places and when it's all done some parts of the area could see around a foot a snow.
By 6 p.m. areas to the west already saw rain change back to sleet and snow. By 8 p.m. most of the area was blanketed in heavy snow -- white out snow in some areas -- and thundersnow was reported in parts of the area.
Viewers in Philly; Christiana, Pa.; Collegeville, Pa.; Drexel Hill, Pa.; Lansdale, Pa.; Norristown, Pa.; Pottstown, Pa.; Warminster, Pa.; Yardley, Pa.; Glassboro, N.J. and other areas reported thundersnow Wednesday night. The thundersnow in Drexel Hill was even caught on tape by viewer Brian Lynch.
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Here is what got us to that point.
Some wet stuff wasn't the surprise. I said Tuesday night, especially at 11, that there could be some problems for the morning rush, but that was for light precipitation on the cold surfaces. It was quite a shock to wake up and see HEAVY snow falling, and, after checking the radar, falling over such a large area for such a long time.
NO computer model even suggested the POSSIBILITY of this much snow early in the storm. Computer models and human forecasters have gotten so much better in recent decades that we don't expect such big surprises anymore. But Wednesday morning showed that it can and does happen once in a long while.
Part 2 was the lull, and I mean that literally -- the worst of the storm wasn't over. There was a chance to travel and shovel snow for a few hours (depending on where you live). The sun even peaked through the clouds and helped melt the snow left on side roads. This was the opportunity to get to where you want to be for dinner, because travel Wednesday evening could be impossible for a period of time.
Part 3 started west of the city around 5 p.m. This is the upper-air portion of the storm, and it's one of the strongest I've seen in a LONG time. There was lightning reported in western Virginia, a sign of how strong this system could be.
The snow moved in from the west from Chester County to Philadelphia to much of New Jersey.
Snow could be falling at 2-inches per hour -- even more in thundersnow areas -- and visibility could be near zero. Some areas will see up to an additional 10-plus inches with Part 3.
Here are the new estimated totals:
|Area||Estimated Snow Totals|
|Parts of Bucks, Chester and Montgomery Counties||10 to 15 inches|
|Philadelphia, Allentown, Lancaster, Reading, Trenton and parts of Del., South Jersey and Pa.||6 to 10 inches|
|Atlantic City, Dover, Del., Southern South Jersey and far west and northern areas||3 to 6 inches|
|Cape May and southern Del.||1 to 3 inches|
Check here for actual snow totals.
Philadelphia will go into snow emergency mode at 7 p.m. Click here for further details.
There are also plenty of delays on SEPTA routes from trains to buses to the subway. Click here for the latest alerts.
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Many areas declared snow emergencies ahead of the heaviest part of the storm.
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