Tuesday's snow the opposite of Sunday's storm

Sisters Viktoria, 19, and Antionette Ziegler, 11, building a snowman Tuesday near their home in Haddonfield.
Sisters Viktoria, 19, and Antionette Ziegler, 11, building a snowman Tuesday near their home in Haddonfield. (TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer)
Posted: December 12, 2013

By 8 a.m., Tuesday, it was beginning to look a lot like Sunday, with a heavy burst of snow flash-coating the roadways and putting the skids on the morning commute.

In some important and fortunate ways, however, Tuesday's snow ended up being a mirror opposite of Sunday's ambush, and the cold spell that has settled on the region might end up being more memorable.

Temperatures were forecast to fall into the teens for the first time since last Groundhog Day, assuring a hard freeze of any standing water or slush by Wednesday morning. Daytime temperatures might not get above freezing until Friday.

Regardless of what happens after winter actually arrives Dec. 21, this has been a lively preseason. With 2.2 inches of snow measured officially Tuesday, Philadelphia's 2013-14 total stands at 10.8 inches, or about half the average for an entire season.

Up to 5 inches was reported in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, but the South Jersey totals generally were less than half that, with a couple of outliers, including 4-inches-plus in Florence, Burlington County.

The timing exacerbated the impact of Tuesday's storm, which closed schools and snarled morning rush-hour traffic. A section of Route 202 was closed for about 50 minutes, after several cars got stuck while driving up a hill near Route 926 near West Chester.

A Delaware County jail van was involved in a midmorning crash in Concord Township, when it slid and was struck by a car on Baltimore Pike. Three prison workers were on board, and police said two were taken to Riddle Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.

Overall, however, the storm was more benign than Sunday's.

For one thing, it was well-predicted - over-predicted for Philadelphia and South Jersey. Road crews had ample time to mine their salt domes and arm the plow trucks.

While Sunday's temperatures fell into the road-icing 20s, Tuesday's had a tough time getting below freezing.

By 1 p.m. Sunday, anyone with a modicum of common sense was inside, watching the Eagles game or bonding with a literary masterpiece. By 1 p.m. Tuesday, the snowfall was over.

Another significant difference was the reversal of accumulation.

The snow-jackpot winners on Tuesday included Perkasie, Bucks County, at 5 inches. That borough's Sunday total was 1.8.

The official Philadelphia International Airport amount Sunday was 8.6; two days later, 2.2.

Another snow or rain threat looms for Saturday, and, predictably, the computer models are squabbling over what's going to happen.

This much is certain: Your shovels have already gotten plenty of use - and the winter solstice is still 10 days away.


twood@phillynews.com

610-313-8210

Staff writers Vernon Clark, Tricia L. Nadolny, Mari A. Schaefer, and Andrew Seidman contributed to this article.

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