Can you hear it, Philadelphia? Your co-workers are whispering about it. People on the Internet are tweeting about it. People in the media are covering it. And now this story.
Your first question is the simplest one, of course: How much snow are we going to get? It’s hard to say. As we wrote yesterday, we won’t really get accurate snowfall total predictions until later tomorrow at the earliest. Anything before is still too far out for a prediction.
But Slate wrote about how it’s a “blizzard for the ages.” As meteorologist Eric Holthaus notes there, Paul Kocin — who wrote Northeast Snowstorms Vols. 1 and 2 — compared it to the Blizzard of 1996, the President’s Day Snowstorm of 2003 and the February 2010 snowstorm. “The mechanisms coming together for a major snowfall are textbook,” Kocin wrote.
So we don’t have any totals yet. But meteorologists are starting to agree that it looks like we’re headed for a major snowfall this weekend. “Let’s cut to the chase,” Kocin wrote at the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center. “The main event in the medium range is the potential for a significant East Coast snowstorm from Friday through Sunday.”
Here is an attached update on the Fri pm-Sat storm. #njwx #dewx #pawx #mdwx pic.twitter.com/gVdJxMB3vl
— NWS Mount Holly (@NWS_MountHolly) January 19, 2016
The snow is expected to start Friday evening; it will continue through Saturday night. It’s possible the snow could continue until Sunday. How much we get depends on if the weather gets warm enough Saturday to change to rain for a period. If it doesn’t get warm enough to change over to snow, that means we’re looking at a major snowstorm. Winds should make conditions treacherous no matter how much snow we get.
While focus is on snow, important to note ESTOFS storm surge predictions >5ft around NYC on top of high tide Sat AM pic.twitter.com/lNZu5118Jt
— Sam Lillo (@splillo) January 19, 2016
ETSurge guidance is coming in 0.2' under #Sandy water level at Cape May NJ and 0.2' over #Sandy water level at Lewes, DE.
— Gary Szatkowski (@GarySzatkowski) January 19, 2016
Snow isn’t the only worry. There could be a major storm surge down the shore. Thanks to the full moon, it won’t take much to cause coastal flooding this weekend. The National Weather Service Mt. Holly bureau says it may be “a top-5 coast flood event in our record-keeping dating back through at least the 1940s.”
For now, the best thing you can do is prepare. Find your shovels. Prep for flooding down the shore. Tell your friend you might not hit his party in the suburbs that weekend. And, of course, raid the ACME for enough food to feed a small army.
Follow @dhm on Twitter.
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