Forecast: Slushstorm may prove hectic midweek

Parts of Chester County could see several inches of snow from a storm that could bring periods of rain and snow to most of the Philadelphia area from Tuesday, March 5, into Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
Parts of Chester County could see several inches of snow from a storm that could bring periods of rain and snow to most of the Philadelphia area from Tuesday, March 5, into Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service.
Posted: March 05, 2013

Here we go again. A midweek storm is expected to produce heavy snow and possibly outage-threatening winds in some Mid-Atlantic states.

The biggest threats are actually to the south of Philadelphia, with a foot of snow possible Wednesday into Thursday in parts of Virginia and West Virginia.

This snowmaker, starting in the northern Rockies, could dump heavy show from Minneapolis to Chicago on its way toward Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Five inches could accumulate around those two eastern cities - and even Lancaster and Chester Counties could see heavy wet snow - according to a winter storm watch issued by the National Weather Service.

This morning, the forecast called for most of the Philadelphia area to dodge the worst of it, and see mostly rain, with wet snow mixing in Wednesday afternoon and overnight. It's possible an inch might fall. But temperatures aren't expected to drop below freezing Tuesday or Wednesday night, and daytime highs for the next three days should be in the mid-40s, so Thursday morning could see more of a slushy rush, especially on treated, busy streets and highways.

"Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg are . . . on the bubble with the chance of a period of heavier snow that can bring a big accumulation or lesser snow to primarily a rain/snow mix," according to AccuWeather.com. "These details will not be known until the storm is virtually under way. A shift in track of the storm and its heavy snow by 50 miles can make the difference."

"Far too early to determine" if the Philadelphia area has a chance to get "six inches of wet snow," according to a weather service forecast discussion.

East Coast flight delays, including in Philadelphia, and Shore flooding and erosion are also worries, says Weather.com, which has dubbed this winter storm Saturn.

According to the National Weather Service, periods of rain and wintry mix could begin Tuesday night in the Philadelphia area, with a little overnight snow showing up in the western suburbs. Then rain could get heavy Wednesday, followed by a change to a mix and possibly lightly accumulating snow by Thursday morning.

How much might stick and where is unclear, but an inch or two might fall across the area, with more in Chester County, perhaps even a half-foot toward its western edge, according to a National Weather Service map updated Monday afternoon.

"Wind will be another concern," with gusts up to 45 m.p.h. near the Delaware and Jersey coasts, according to the weather service.

Stronger winds are expected along the storm's central path.

For more on the forecast, go to www.philly.com/weather.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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