Note: This story has been updated to include the latest forecast information.
With temperatures in the 50s Sunday and total snowfall of less than three inches during the winter of 2022-2023 so far, anyone feeling skeptical about a Monday night weather forecast that includes a chance of frozen precipitation could easily be forgiven.
Potentially hazardous winter weather, however, is exactly what meteorologists are calling for across the Lehigh Valley and elsewhere.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for Northampton County from 5 p.m. Monday until 10 a.m. Tuesday for mixed precipitation including snow and freezing rain. The advisory also includes Carbon County in the Poconos and Warren County in New Jersey. A separate advisory for Lehigh, Upper Bucks and Somerset (N.J.) counties is in effect from 5 p.m. Monday until 5 a.m. Tuesday.
According to accompanying statements issued with the advisories, total snow accumulations in Northampton County could be in the 3 to 6 inch range while accumulations in Lehigh County will be in the 2 to 4 inch range, with snowfall rates in excess of “one inch per hour at times” possible Monday night. Further north, in Monroe County, a winter storm warning is in effect for up to 8 inches of snow.
In the Lehigh Valley freezing rain that results in a light glaze on roadways, sidewalks and other surfaces could result in slippery travel conditions, especially during the Monday evening and Tuesday morning commutes, the NWS said. Rain or sleet could also mix in at times.
According to the NWS’s latest forecast for Allentown, Monday night’s low will be 31 degrees, or just below the freezing mark.
Tuesday’s high temperature will be in the low 40s and highs on Wednesday and Thursday will return to the 50s, forecasters say, so any snow that does accumulate is likely to disappear rather quickly.
The winter of 2022-2023 has not only been one of the least snowy, but also one of the mildest on record at Allentown, with temperatures averaging nearly nine degrees above normal in January.
With a brief but severe cold snap early in the month, February has been a bit cooler, but the average temperature to date is still nearly five degrees above the historic average.
Whether March brings a return to colder, snowier conditions more typical of winter in eastern Pennsylvania remains to be seen, but with time running out on the seasonal calendar, if there is more winter weather in store for the region it will likely be fleeting in nature.