Minor 1-3″ Snowfall on Saturday


Ok, now that yesterday’s weak disturbance has moved away from the region we can start to focus our attention on the arctic front and the possibility of snow that’s heading this way for the weekend. A couple of things that are beginning to catch my attention here as we get closer to Saturday are 1.) the development of  low pressure off the coast along the arctic front and 2.) a secondary polar front on Sunday.

The reason why those two points above are importnat is because even though yesterday’s snow event was very minor here in the Delaware Valley, there was an encouraging sign with it if you are a snow lover. An encouraging sign that could end up providing a surprise 1-3″ snowfall for Philadelphia and southern New Jersey Saturday morning. As yesterday’s system came across the mountains it began to snow very lightly from southwest to northeast across our viewing area. The heaviest amounts occurred to our west where the elevation is slightly higher than the coast and temperatures were colder. However, once the low actually made it to the coast it strengthed pretty quickly. You could see the banding that developed along the shore as it pulled away. The reason for the strengthening is because of the large temperature contrast between the air temperature and the temperature of the ocean. The warm winter has kept water temperatures in the mid 40s which is unusually mild for this time of the year. When you have a large temperature contrast like this it creates rising motion in the atmosphere which in turn lowers the pressures at the surface, next thing you know you have storm development. So the encouraging sign here is as the pattern evolves (becomes more active) over the next couple of weeks (and it looks very busy), there will be a greater chance of systems developing off the coast and throwing back moisture into the viewing area.

You can already see the models (European, Canadian and NAM) trying to show this for Saturday with the passage of the arctic front. As it hits the coast an area of low pressure will develop along it, intensify, and try running up the eastern seaboard from the Mid Atlantic to New England. This will throw back moisture into the I-95 corridor from D.C. to Boston. So where as yesterday it was areas west of the Delaware River that picked up a small accumulation of snow, this time around it will be areas east of the Delaware that see it. Then it quickly pulls northeast and out to seas as a secondary arctic front approaches for Sunday. This front will end up dropping overnight lows in Boston down to near zero and upper single digits in the Big Apple. Fortunately for us I don’t think this secondary front really makes it any farther south than New York so I expect the worst of the cold to stay north of here.

So right now I think there is a good chance that we see a minor 1-3 inch snowfall on Saturday with falling temperatures and blustery cold wind chills. I could possibly see a slightly more concentrated area of 2-3 inches developing from Trenton to New York if the Canadian is correct, but right now I think the 1-3 is good. Not a huge event, but unlike this last one I think this could actually create a few headaches on the back roadways and visibility issues at times.

Chris Sowers


About Chris Sowers

I'm the weekend meteorologist for WPVI-TV, Action News in Philadelphia. I've been forecasting for nearly twelve years now. Some of my stops along the way include Bowling Green, Kentucky and the windy city of Chicago, Illinois. I have an identical twin brother, Gary, and a younger brother Jason. I'm a big sports nut. I watch everything from football to baseball to hockey, even horse racing. Another passion of mine is finance. There's nothing like making money, and lots of it! But most of all I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I have a little niece, Gabriella, and four year old nephew Hayden. They both mean the world to me. So much so that I've started a little segment on my Action News facebook fan page called "Gabby says". Once a week little Gabriella gives her forecast to the city of "Brotherly Love!" You can catch me Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6-8am, 9-10:30am and then again at noon.
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