Total snowfall of 22-30 inches forecast; snow drifts of up to 6 feet possible; many locations in the Saucon Valley area already reporting a foot or more of snow on the ground
Editor’s Note: Please scroll down to watch a reader-submitted video of current conditions on Thomas Avenue in Hellertown.
As the dangerous snowstorm known by names such as the Blizzard of 2016, “Snowzilla” and the Blizzard Jonas currently rages and “overperforms” across the Mid-Atlantic, the National Weather Service has again increased its projected snow totals for the Lehigh Valley and replaced the winter storm warning that was in effect with a blizzard warning that will remain in effect through 3 a.m. Sunday.
The blizzard warning–a rare designation only issued during a historic snowstorm– was already in effect for Berks, Montgomery and Bucks counties as well as points further south. It now extends to Northampton, Lehigh, Carbon and Monroe counties.
In a statement issued just before 10 a.m. Saturday, the NWS said the area can now expect to receive snowfall totals of 22 to 30 inches, which will make the Blizzard of 2016 one of the greatest snowstorms on record.
“The combination of heavy snow and strong winds will produce whiteout conditions and extremely dangerous travel,” the statement said. “Snow will cling to wires and trees, which could cause numerous power outages. Roads will be impassable due to increasing snowfall rates of 2 to 4 inches per hour at times in heavier bands.”
Snow drifts of up to six feet are possible, the NWS said.
A blizzard warning is issued when “falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely. This will lead to whiteout conditions, making travel extremely dangerous,” it added. “Do not travel. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle.”
At 10 a.m., heavy snow was falling throughout the region.
At Lehigh Valley International Airport visibility was just .15 mile and the temperature was 24 degrees with heavy snow reported.
One power outage in the area was being reported by PPL on Funks Mill Road, near the Lower Saucon Township-Springfield Township line, east of Springtown, Bucks County. The outage is only affecting one customer and should be fixed by 3 p.m., according to PPL’s Outage Center map.
The storm is forecast to wind down by early Sunday morning.
Residents are advised to continue to monitor weather forecasts throughout the day, to avoid travel if possible, and to check on elderly neighbors during the storm.