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The worst storm yet

Published February 12. 2014 12:41PM

Cue the ominous music to the movie "Jaws" because a projected Nor'easter is coming.

As this monster moves up the coast, it is starting to look like we are directly in its path.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning early this morning saying a "potent coastal storm will affect the region tonight through Thursday night." The warning remains in effect from midnight through Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday.

Heavy snow is predicted with up to 10 inches possible. Some areas may see over a foot.

The snow is expected to begin after midnight and possibly briefly mix with sleet during the day Thursday.

Wind will be a factor with gusts up to 30 mph, causing blowing and drifting snow and decreasing the already poor visibility conditions.

Power outages are possible as heavy snow accumulates on power lines and tree branches.

AccuWeather is in agreement with other major weather services, releasing a projected weather map that puts our area in "blizzard" conditions Wednesday night through Friday morning.

According to the map, the potential of up to 18 inches is forecast in the area.

Tom Kines, meteorologist for AccuWeather, said this morning he still believes about 12 inches will fall during the storm.

Kines said that the heaviest snow will come during the day on Thursday with the possibility of one to two inches dropped per hour.

"It will look like a blizzard during the worst of the storm," he said.

Kines added that the storm is expected to be the strongest so far this winter.

Ahead of the storm

Ron Young, district press officer for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, said crews are busy preparing for the upcoming storm.

They are not out pretreating roads, he said, because there is still enough salt and brine residue left over from the previous storms that struck last week.

PennDOT plows will be out in force during the duration of the storm.

Drivers should stay at least six car lengths behind a plow and not attempt to pass it.

School headaches

Students may be cheering for the snow, but schools are scrambling to change their school calendar yet again.

Many schools were planning to use Friday, which originally was scheduled to be part of the Presidents Day holiday, as a snow makeup day. But now they may need to make up an additional day or two as well.

History may be made

Philadelphia may make history tomorrow if the storm drops at least 6 inches of snow.

According to the National Weather Service, if Philadelphia International Airport gets 6 inches or more of snow tomorrow, it will be the first time since modern day records started during the winter of 1884-85 that Philadelphia received four separate 6-inch or greater snow events in any single snow season.

Déjà vu

February has had some memorable storms over the years and this one may make a name for itself, pending on the track and intensity the area feels tomorrow.

Some people who remember the 1980s may remember the Blizzard of 1983, which struck the area between Feb. 10 and Feb. 12, and dumped nearly two feet of snow in some parts.

Locally, 25.2 inches fell in sections of the Lehigh Valley, while 20 inches fell in Carbon County.

Seventeen inches were reported in Tamaqua during that storm.

Schools were closed for days and municipalities declared state of emergencies.

More recently in 2007, the memorable Valentine's Day storm hit the area, blanketing the region in a mix of snow, sleet and ice.

During that storm, schools were forced to close, and a number of major roads became skating rinks and shut down.

One death in Schuylkill County was blamed on the storm.

The Mansion House Hill in Jim Thorpe and Mahoning Township was shut down because of snow slides blocking the majority of 209 North.

In 2010, February produced a record-breaking winter with two "blockbuster storms" slamming the East Coast.

On Feb. 10, 2010, between 17 and 26 inches of snow fell but it wasn't considered a blizzard.

The storm left interstates closed, PennDOT working overtime and snow emergencies to be put into effect in a number of boroughs.

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