Storm Forecast Downgraded, Predicted Snowfall Totals Slashed

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Overnight Friday most weather forecasters dramatically lowered their forecast snowfall amounts for this weekend’s winter storm, although as of Saturday morning snow emergencies were still scheduled to take effect in Hellertown borough and other local municipalities such as Fountain Hill borough, along with a state of emergency declared by Gov. Tom Wolf Friday.

The Saucon Valley remains under a winter storm warning through Sunday, but the National Weather Service has downgraded its snowfall forecast for the area from 5 to 10 inches of snow to 3 to 5 inches of snow, along with mixed precipitation it said could include up to two tenths of an inch of ice.

Winter storm warnings that were issued Friday for Upper Bucks and Upper Montgomery counties have been downgraded to winter weather advisories, and the predicted snowfall totals for those areas have been lowered to 1 to 3 inches.

Lehigh Valley Weather Authority lowered their total snowfall prediction for most of the Lehigh Valley from 6 to 10 inches of snow to 2 to 4 inches, citing “short range modeling has shifted the storm pretty far north.”

PA Weather Action took the unusual step of issuing a revised final call storm forecast Saturday morning, in light of the changes in modeling and temperatures, which forecaster Josh Adams noted had not dropped as much as anticipated.

As of 10 a.m. the temperature at Allentown was above freezing by several degrees.

“We have made it no secret that this forecast has been a tough one over the past few days,” Adams said. “Due to not only short range model guidance changes, but also live observations in the Plains and Midwest as well as surface temperatures in PA, we have reduced forecast amounts.”

“Low level cloud cover stayed with us overnight, not allowing temperatures to fall much,” Adams noted. “High pressure in Ontario that we were relying on to keep the southern half of the state colder longer is north. Short range model guidance has responded, and now indicates many areas south of the Pittsburgh-Lewistown-Mt. Pocono line will see significantly less snowfall.”

Across much of southeastern Pennsylvania less than an inch of snow is now forecast by PA Weather Action, and the northern part of the Lehigh Valley, southern Carbon and southern Monroe counties are now forecast to receive 1 to 3 inches of snow, followed by sleet, freezing rain and rain.

The changes in the forecast have drawn mixed reactions from users on social media, with some cheering the prospect of a less impactful storm, while others who were looking forward to the snow are expressing disappointment. In Facebook comments there is also some lighthearted lampooning of what now appears to have been an overblown forecast.

Temperatures Sunday are still forecast to tumble from the thirties to the single digits, but forecasters have backed away from their earlier warnings about the possibility of a resulting “flash freeze.”

“A strong cold front (will move) through with strong northwest winds and rapidly falling temperatures as Arctic air rapidly moves in (Sunday),” the National Weather Service said in a hazardous weather outlook Saturday morning. “This will lead to quick refreezing of wet and slushy surfaces causing very ice conditions.”

The Arctic air isn’t forecast to stick around long, however, as by mid-week high temperatures are currently forecat to climb back into the 40s with rain predicted for Wednesday and Thursday.

The most snow from this weekend’s storm is forecast to fall in far northern Pennsylvania, where more than a foot could accumulate, according to forecasters.

Channel 69 News is still predicting 4 to 8 inches of snow for the Lehigh Valley, which appeared to be the highest forecast amount as of mid-morning Saturday.

One event that is still scheduled to be held in spite of the forecast–whatever it is–is the “A Night at the Races” fundraiser for Saucon Valley Wrestling, which will be held Saturday at 6 pm at Steel Club in Hellertown. Tickets will be available at the door for $30 each. Click here for more information.

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