Philadelphia Weather: Will the region finally see snow on Wednesday?

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The NEXT Weather team is tracking a midweek storm in the Philadelphia region, but the biggest question remains: Will Philadelphia finally see snow?

With plenty of sunshine and slightly above average temperatures, Tuesday is the “calm before the storm” as a southwestern main system moves into the Delaware Valley on Wednesday morning. As of now, the NEXT Weather team anticipates:

  • Precipitation to enter much of the area by mid-morning
  • Mostly snow in the Lehigh Valley, mostly rain along the Jersey shore, a brief mix of both in Philadelphia and the metropolitan area
  • Warmer air changing much of the snow to rain by mid-afternoon
  • Fierce winds gusting to over 35 mph

Plan to budget for additional travel time throughout the day, as the roads will be wet throughout the afternoon drive and beyond.

timing

The good news is that the morning commute will be fine, with dry air making it difficult for almost anything to hit the ground early on. In fact, even later travelers should see roads clear of rain and snow for at least 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Late this morning, the system will begin sending snow to the Lehigh Valley and a few flurries to the Philadelphia area.

Farther south and east, precipitation along southern New Jersey and the coast will begin and remain rain only.

North of I-78, cold enough air will allow snow to stick. This will last all afternoon before the warmer air arrives.

For everyone, the precipitation leaves us late Wednesday night in the form of a few sprays and showers, and it is likely to clear up by Thursday morning.

the impacts

While there will likely be a brief mix of snow in Philadelphia, it is unlikely to accumulate. Warm air will spread into the region ahead of the main front, bringing us into the 40s and changing precipitation to rain. For Philadelphia, this is a huge rainy and windy event, with some very treacherous overnight travel. Rainfall amounts could exceed 1.5 inches, resulting in flash flooding.

South Jersey and the coast are likely to experience a rain event, with torrential downpours throughout the afternoon. Combine this with the wind, and it is advisable to avoid being outside for much of the day, if possible.

As for snow, expect a layer at best in the city, with 2-4 inches in the Lehigh Valley and 4-6 inches in the Poconos, before the change to rain later in the day. With temperatures rising, much of the snowpack, including on the mountains, should be gone before the system moves out of the area early Thursday.

Stay with the CBS News Philadelphia Next Weather team as we track the storm, tweak the totals and keep you informed.

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