Monstrous, damaging snowstorm may or may not develop
Area residents may be shoveling out from yet another storm that is forecast to hit the commonwealth Thursday.
This one has the potential to be a dangerous storm, with high winds, the possibility of power outages, and blowing snow possible across much of the Northeast. Or it may just pass over, dropping a few inches of snow as it moves up the coast. Forecasters, at this point, are disagreeing on what to expect.
A winter storm watch is scheduled to go into effect late tonight and remain until Friday morning.
According to the National Weather Service, a low pressure system will develop off the South Carolina Coast Wednesday evening and move north along the coast. Depending on weather patterns, the storm may linger over Pennsylvania through Thursday night into Friday morning.
High wind gusts up to 50 mph and blowing snow may accompany the storm Thursday.
Snow accumulation totals vary by weather service.
In Carbon and Schuylkill counties, the National Weather Service is reporting at least six inches of snow is expected to fall, but larger totals can be expected in the higher elevations.
But according to AccuWeather, which is calling this upcoming storm "monstrous and damaging," the potential for a foot of snow or more is possible in the area, while areas farther north are expected to experience "paralyzing blizzard" conditions.
Ronald Young, district press officer for the Pennslyvania Department of Transportation, said crews are preparing for the storm and will be ready to move out when the storm starts.
"After the storm begins and we get about 1.5 to 2 inches of snow, we (PennDOT) will begin plowing," Young said. "This is going to be mainly a plowing and salting event."
Young said he doesn't expect crews to do much pretreating prior to the start of the storm because there should still be enough spread from prior weather events.
He added that PennDOT reminds everyone to drive safely during winter weather.
"This is going to be a major storm," Young said. "We strongly encourage drivers not to travel if it isn't necessary but if you have to, be prepared, take it very slow and give yourself extra time."
He urged travelers to put emergency kits, such as nonperishable food items, water, blankets, necessary medications, a radio, batteries, a flashlight, and any other necessities in the cars with them.
Following the storm, which is expected to pull out of the area Friday, a slight chance of snow showers is expected Friday night and Saturday, with temperatures reaching the mid-30s on Saturday.
By Sunday, the weather should be partly sunny with temperatures possibly reaching 40.
The upcoming snowstorm is the first of possibly three storms that may batter the mid-Atlantic and New England area over the next week.
According to AccuWeather, two other potential storms are being watched at this time.
A rain and snowstorm that moved through the area late Monday into Tuesday proved to be a nuisance in Carbon and Schuylkill counties. Only minor snow accumulation, mixed with rain fell Monday night and Tuesday.
Some accidents and deteriorated driving conditions were reported.
Jim Thorpe, Lehighton, Palmerton and Weatherly school districts, as well as Carbon Career & Technical Institute in Jim Thorpe, operated on a two-hour delay this morning as a result of Tuesday night's storm, while Panther Valley and Tamaqua operated on a normal schedule.
In Monroe and other northern counties; however, snow accumulations near a foot were reported. Pleasant Valley School District in Monroe County was closed today.