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Another snowstorm to blanket the region

Published January 25. 2011 05:03PM

Meteorologists say that weather forecasting is not an exact science.

Never was that more obvious than this week, with tomorrow's projected snowfall.

There have been numerous predictions leading up to tomorrow's weather, from our area getting only a couple of inches of snow to getting walloped.

This morning, it appears the consensus is that most of Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe and Northampton counties will be hit by at least half a foot of snow. Forecasters are holding off on a winter storm watch for Schuylkill County, saying maybe the storm will be far enough east to not have as much impact.

The forecast map on the National Weather Service Web site shows as much as eight inches of snow for much of Carbon County.

The official winter storm watch issued this morning by the Weather Service states:

"The National Weather Service in Mount Holly (N.J.) has issued a winter storm watch, which is in effect from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning."

• Precipitation type: Snow ... with sleet and freezing rain possible Wednesday afternoon and evening.

• Accumulations: Six inches or more of snow ... with a coating of ice possible.

• Time: The snow will start Wednesday morning ... with the steadiest and heaviest snow expected late Wednesday afternoon and into Wednesday night.

• Impacts: The Wednesday evening commute could be affected as accumulating snow falls. The Thursday morning commute could also be affected."

The Weather Service states, "A winter storm watch means there is a potential for significant snow, sleet, or ice accumulations that may impact travel. Continue to monitor the latest forecasts."

AccuWeather, in its forecast for Wednesday, is calling for 2-5 inches, mostly in the evening.

A Scranton area TV station, which is widely watched for its forecasts, says our area could be impacted by about six inches of snow, while north of I-80 there could be very little of the white powder. The TV station says the snow won't fall until the evening hours.

Earlier this week, the predictions were as varied as, well, the weather.

The Weather Channel had a map on its website as early as Saturday showing we were going to get hammered by a winter storm.

Even on Monday, TV forecasters were undecided if we would get any snow at all.

Just this morning, a TV meteorologist acknowledged that the track of the arriving system is very close, and just a waver to the north or south could mean the difference in how much snow we get.

A meteorologist with the National Weather Service wrote at 7:31 a.m. today, "While there are certainly still some details that need to be worked out for the upcoming event, there is now enough evidence in the operations and ensembles runs to start putting together a framework."

He adds, "Precipitation should progress north into the drier air Wednesday, making it into the northern zones (which includes Carbon County) by late Wednesday afternoon."

The National Weather Service's State College office, which is in charge of forecasting for Schuylkill County, has held off on a winter storm warning this morning.

The Weather Service said most of the snow should fall between the Interstate 81 and Interstate 95 corridor, adding, "It should be noted that there will likely be a very sharp gradient to the snowfall ... which makes for a rather tricky forecast."

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