Tuesday’s spring-like weather seemed to confirm what Punxsutawney Phil predicted Sunday, with highs reaching nearly 60 degrees in places. The National Weather Service, however, is attempting to throw a wet blanket on their furry rival’s prognostication with a forecast that calls for an abrupt return to winter.
In a winter weather advisory statement issued Tuesday afternoon, the NWS said Northampton County residents should prepare for icy conditions between 10 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. Thursday, when freezing rain is expected to fall.
The NWS said difficult travel conditions could result from up to a quarter inch of ice; travel conditions that could prove hazardous for commuters Thursday morning.
“Scattered power outages are possible due to the accumulating ice,” the statement said.
The NWS noted that ice accumulations are likely to be higher at elevations of 1,000 feet or better, but said “small amounts (of ice) remain possible down to valley floors.”
Also under the winter weather advisory are Lehigh, Carbon, Monroe and Warren counties.
Any ice that accumulates Wednesday night should melt during the day Thursday, when high temperatures are forecast to reach the low 40s.
On Friday as well as Saturday night, however, there could be more rounds of wintry precipitation, according to the latest NWS forecast.
Local weather forecasting service Lehigh Valley Weather Authority LLC has shared a much less bullish take on any possibility of a return to winter weather in the near future.
“Some freezing rain and sleet will move in overnight and continue into very early (predawn) hours of Thursday,” owner and forecaster Tony Luchini posted on Facebook Tuesday. “Overall I do not expect many travel issues in the valley, however, expect some slick roadways the Poconos.”
Luchini added that one to two inches of rain Thursday and Friday could end as snow showers Friday afternoon.