Winter weather followed by bitter cold is again on tap for the Lehigh Valley this week, but when the snow will fall as well as how much the area can expect to receive is uncertain as of late Sunday.
The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook that says rain is expected to change over to snow “Tuesday into Tuesday night.”
“Hazardous travel conditions are possible during and after this changeover,” the outlook says. “Periods of gusty winds and scattered snow squalls are possible on Wednesday afternoon. Very cold temperatures and wind chills are expected Wednesday night and Thursday.”
According to the latest forecast, Tuesday’s high is expected to be 40, which is above normal.
Tuesday night’s low is forecast to be 19, and by Wednesday night the mercury could drop to zero, according to the National Weather Service. However by next weekend highs are again forecast to be in the 40s.
The NWS appears to be more confident in its snowfall forecast for the Poconos. There it has issued a winter storm watch for 5 to 8 inches of snow for both Carbon and Monroe counties, where it says “heavy snow” is likely from Tuesday morning through Wednesday morning.
PA Weather Action is similarly calling for 4 to 7 inches of snow for Northeast Pennsylvania, including northern portions of the Lehigh Valley.
In a first call map for the storm published Sunday afternoon, the statewide weather forecasting company put southern Lehigh and Northampton counties in a zone where it says 2 to 4 inches of snow are expected, with isolated amounts of 6 inches possible.
On Tuesday, “temperatures will be marginal ahead of the front, meaning most areas will be around 32 degrees,” lead forecaster Chris Corrigan wrote. “This will allow for some areas to start off as a wintry mix before changing over to all snow.”
Lehigh Valley Weather Authority on its Facebook page Sunday said three or more inches of snow are possible.
The storm “could bring with it the biggest snowfall totals thus far this season,” LVWA posted. “(That’s not saying much btw.)”
December and January so far have seen little snow, with only a few inches officially recorded at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown.
A storm that affected the area Jan. 19-20 was originally forecast to dump up to 10 or more inches of snow, but only ended up depositing a small amount of the white stuff before the snow changed to rain.
Whether or not Tuesday’s system brings with it enough snow to bring the area’s annual total snowfall to date closer to normal remains uncertain.