Fourth Major Winter Storm on Our Doorstep

The morning rush won't be the problem, the storm's fury will be unleashed in the afternoon Thursday

In this all-time record snowy winter, yet another snowstorm could be added to history.

This storm won’t likely dump as much snow as the others -- especially the first two when 20-plus inches fell -- but it could cause problems similar to the near-blizzard of Feb. 9 to 10.

All Philadelphia public and city Archdiocean schools cancelled classes for Thursday in advance of the Nor'easter.

The storm track should be a very unusual one. It is developing off the North Carolina coast and should move to the northeast toward Cape Cod.

Here are the estimated snow totals as of Wednesday evening for this hard-to-judge storm:

South of Philadelphia6 to 10 inches
Philadelphia, areas just north and east10 to 15 inches
Central N.J., and Lehigh Valley15 to 20 inches
Poconos15 to 20-plus inches

Here's a map:

Instead of continuing northeastward, it should take a sharp turn to the left and track near New York City and then into northeast Pennsylvania. This should allow the heavy snow to spread south toward the Philadelphia area while producing strong winds.

The precipitation should begin Wednesday night as rain, or a mix of rain and snow, but should gradually change to all snow later at night.

By Thursday morning, the wet snow should be increasing, changing a slushy accumulation early to a solid accumulation on unplowed roads later in the day.

The wind should only be about 10 m.p.h. early in the day, but by evening it could increase to 30 to 40 m.p.h. with gusts to about 60 m.p.h.

Since the temperatures should be near freezing, the snow could be the "heavy" type, which will stick to trees and power lines. As the wind increases, some tree limbs and power lines should come down, leading to power outages. This could lead to a Category 5 -- Crippling -- storm for the hardest hit areas.

The storm could move so slowly that the snow will continue well into Friday, and light snow could even fall Saturday.

Oh, and by the way -- another storm is possible in the middle of next week.

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