PHILADELPHIA, PA — A Wednesday Nor’easter is expected to bring what could be the most impactful winter weather in several years to the region. The latest forecast from the National Weather Service, updated Wednesday morning, calls for more than a foot of snow in the Philadelphia area.
A winter storm warning begins at noon on Wednesday and goes through Thursday mid-morning. The storm could drop nearly 2 feet of snow on some parts of Eastern Pennsylvania, with the Philadelphia region slated to get anywhere from 6 to 18 inches of snow. The Poconos could see 24 inches, according to the latest briefing from the National Weather Service.
The storm will also bring very strong winds, with gusts potentially reaching 60 mph near the coast. Inland, gusts could reach as high as 30 to 40 mph, exacerbating visibility restrictions. Power outages are also possible.
The Weather Channel’s own Jim Cantore is covering the storm from Eastern Pennsylvania.
Here’s what you need to know about the storm and its impacts in Eastern Pennsylvania:
Snow is expected to begin in the afternoon. Current predictions from the National Weather Service say to expect the snow to start around 1 p.m. in Philadelphia and about 2 p.m. in the suburbs to the north.
Here’s a map of the latest timing estimations:
Forecasters agree there is the potential this system will bring heavy snow. Near and north of the I-78 corridor, expect significant accumulations, the weather service said. Between the I-78 and I-95/295 corridors, you can expect a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain. Travel will likely still be impacted in that area.
Snowfall estimates for eastern Pennsylvania range from 6 inches in and near Philadelphia, to 2 feet in the Lehigh Valley and the Poconos. Here are eight maps that show snowfall predictions.
A sharp gradient separating snow from and rain is predicted and will fall along the I-95 corridor:
Snowfall rates could reach 1 to 2 inches per hour late Wednesday into Wednesday night, causing significantly reduced visibility and potentially crippling travel impacts in places, the weather service said.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission have both issued advisories against travel during the storm.Both agencies say they anticipate that restrictions on trucks and other vehicles will be imposed on some roadways. Speed restrictions are also possible.
« We have been preparing for winter since the last one ended, and we’re calling on the public to be our partners in safe travel, » PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said. « Please, avoid traveling and if you must travel, be sure to check travel conditions and give plow operators plenty of space so they can do their jobs safely and effectively. »
Mike Compton, the PA Turnpike CEO, said he expects speed restrictions and vehicle bans will be « used extensively during this storm. »
Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday signed a proclamation of disaster emergency in anticipation of the storm expected. Power outages are also a possibility.
« Currently, models predict that the first significant winter storm in nearly a year will hit Pennsylvania tomorrow, » Gov. Wolf said during a Tuesday news briefing.
Meanwhile, PECO said its crews are ready to respond.
The utility said its crews and contractors are preparing to respond to potential outages. « In the event of outages, our crews will work around the clock until every last customer is restored, » PECO said.
Several local communities have declared snow emergency declarations, which will limit on-street parking.