It seemed hard to believe that a snowstorm could be lurking right around the corner Tuesday. In line with Punxsutawney Phil’s recent prediction that we will enjoy an early spring, temperatures Monday rose to nearly 50 degrees under partly sunny skies, and many people took advantage of the unusually mild weather to engage in outdoor activities.
According to weather forecasters, however, that won’t be as easy to do on Tuesday–unless, perhaps, you have an all-wheel drive vehicle and are planning on hitting the slopes.
What could be the area’s biggest snowstorm in several years is just hours away, they said, and the axis for the heaviest snow could be located near the Lehigh Valley.
Accordingly, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning from 12 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday for Lehigh and Northampton counties for 7 to 10 inches of snow.
In a storm forecast discussion, NWS officials said the snow could fall at rates of an inch per hour or more from early Tuesday morning until mid-day, when the storm is expected to move out.
The potential for blizzard-like conditions, however brief, has prompted warnings to drivers who may feel compelled to hit the roads as usual for their morning commute.
The heavy snow could create a “treacherous” scenario for motorists, particularly on highways like I-78 and I-80, the NWS warned.
“If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency,” it advised anyone who plans to be out and about Tuesday morning.
In anticipation of the storm, a number of local muncipalities declared snow emergencies that will be in effect Tuesday. A snow emergency means that vehicles must be removed from designated snow emergency routes, which typically consist of the main roads in a borough or city.
Hellertown’s snow emergency takes effect at 12 a.m. Tuesday and will remain in place until further notice.
Vehicles parked on snow emergency routes will be towed after that time, the borough said in a statement Monday afternoon.
Parking for anyone who needs it is available in the Dimmick Park, Water Street Park, Tobias Drive and Post Office municipal lots.
Borough officials asked that residents not park in the Northampton Street Public Works building or Dewey Fire Company (Durham Street) lots.
“For those residents on secondary, non-emergency routes, please make every attempt to remove your vehicle from the street or work with your neighbors to park all vehicles on one side,” borough officials said. “Do not park within 15’ of an intersection or 20’ of a stop sign. This will allow our plows to more thoroughly remove snow from the street and intersection.”
For a list of snow emergency routes in Hellertown borough, visit the borough website.
The Borough of Freemansburg’s snow emergency will be in effect from 12 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, and the Borough of Fountain Hill’s snow emergency will take effect at 8 a.m. Tuesday. The snow emergency routes in Fountain Hill are Broadway, Delaware Avenue, St. Luke’s Place from Ostrum Street to Delaware, and Ostrum from Mohican Street to St. Luke’s Place.
In the borough of Coopersburg, the snow emergency begins at 7 p.m. Monday until 11 p.m. Tuesday. The snow emergency routes in the borough include Main Street, State Street, Station Avenue and E. Fairmount Street.
In an all-call to residents Monday afternoon, Coopersburg officials reminded residents to clear their sidewalks of snow within 16 hours of the storm’s end and to keep fire hydrants clear.
In addition to the snow emergency declarations, some local organizations and services began canceling their regular operations for Tuesday in anticipation of the snowy weather.
Local residents should continue to monitor weather forecasts for updates on the developing storm.