PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — A fast-moving coastal storm is forecast to blast several major cities in the Northeast with a mix of snow, sleet and rain on Saturday in the season’s first real taste of winter along the busy Interstate 95 corridor.
Closer to Pittsburgh, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Cambria and Somerset counties.
The biggest snowfall amounts are expected in southern New England, but forecasters warned that temperatures hovering near freezing could make for slippery driving conditions across the region.
“It’s kind of the first one, so it’s a good thing it’s happening this weekend,” National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Simpson in Taunton, Massachusetts, said Friday. “If this happened during a weekday, it could be really slow and messy.”
A winter storm warning was issued Friday for a large portion of central Pennsylvania ahead of the storm. Forecasters said a wide area between Gettysburg and Johnstown, stretching from West Virginia through Maryland to just south of State College and Williamsport, could get 5 to 8 inches of snow between Friday night and Saturday afternoon.
In and around Pittsburgh, KDKA Meteorologist Jeff Verszyla says we could see between a coating to an inch overnight and into the wee hours of Saturday morning. There will be higher amounts as you get further south and east.
“Snow showers developing earlier and working their way to the north out of West Virginia and primarily encompassing our southern tiered counties – Washington, Westmoreland, Greene and Fayette counties – and then working its way through the southern and eastern portions of Allegheny County, trying to nose their way toward parts of the North Hills with limited success,” said Verszyla. “What’s going to occur is, this line is going to reach a point and it’s not going to go any further north.
“So the northern tier of counties – Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango counties – may see little or nothing at all in terms of any flakes flying tonight,” he added. “Most of it will be south and east of the City of Pittsburgh and it’s mainly going to be confined to the overnight period.”
The Maryland State Highway Administration warned motorists that travel may become hazardous. The agency said it would have salt, snowplows and chain saws at the ready in case of fallen trees.
As the storm sweeps northeast along the Eastern Seaboard, it is expected to drop 2 to 4 inches of snow and ice in Philadelphia on Saturday morning before turning over to rain. It is forecast to bring 3 to 4 inches of snow to New York City and 4 to 6 inches to Boston, with higher amounts in central Massachusetts, before moving out to sea by early Sunday.
After a relatively tame start to the winter, Connecticut has plenty of salt and snow-treatment chemicals stockpiled around the state and a fleet of 632 plow trucks ready to go, Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Nursick said. He said crews have been pre-treating some highways and bridges, but there already is some salt leftover from recent, smaller storms.
“We don’t need to go full tilt,” he said.
The storm is expected to begin as snow across much of the region, with areas east of I-95 receiving mostly rain. Forecasters say accumulation amounts will depend on how quickly the rain line moves west. The weather service said the Philadelphia area could receive as much as a quarter-inch of ice Saturday morning before the rain arrives.
Meteorologist Peter Wichrowski in Upton, New York, said snow likely would start to fall in New York City in the early morning hours of Saturday, with a mix of rain and maybe a little sleet along the coastal areas. He said snowfall totals were expected to be around 1 to 2 inches across eastern Long Island.
Baltimore and Washington were expected to get only rain as temperatures hover just above freezing.
On Saturday here in Pittsburgh, Verszyla says we’ll see a flurry early and mainly to the east with mostly cloudy skies and a high of 38 degrees. Sunday we could see a few flurries in the afternoon, and then heavier snow overnight.
“Next opportunity for widespread snow showers looks to come Sunday night as a clipper is going to skirt by to our south,” Verszyla said. “There will be an area of some snow showers associated with it that’s going to move through the area Sunday night and first thing on Monday morning before it clears out it looks like before mid-day on Monday.”
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