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Snow, Sleet Take Aim At NEPA

November 14, 2018
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Snow, Sleet Take Aim At NEPA

The second wettest year on record in Northeast Pennsylvania will become a little wetter — and a whole lot sloppier — this week.

A system sliding up from the Gulf of Mexico will bring the season’s first significant snowfall to the region Thursday into Friday, the opening volley in what could shape up as a snowy winter locally, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Paul Pastelok said Tuesday.

“It’s not wasting any time here,” Pastelok said. “It’s going to be a rough winter for most of the eastern half of the nation, the mid-Atlantic especially. You guys will be biting your nails, like, ‘Are we going to get in the heaviest snowfall or is it just going to be south of us?’

“I think that’s the kind of case we are looking at this winter for you.”

The AccuWeather forecast calls for the snow to start falling Thursday around mid-afternoon and then intensify quickly as it mixes with sleet, Pastelok said.

According to AccuWeather.com, snowfall accumulations will range from 1 to 3 inches in the Wilkes-Barre area.

The sleet should temper the snowfall totals but accumulations will still range from 2 to 4 inches in the Scranton area, with 6 to 7 inches possible north toward the New York border and in the higher elevations of the Poconos, Pastelok said.

“The thing about this storm is it’s not so much the amount, it’s what happening beforehand,” he said.

Chilly temperatures overnight tonight means road surfaces will be cold, and expected cloud cover Thursday morning will prevent much warming before the snow starts, Pastelok said.

“When the precipitation hits the ground, it’s going to cause issues. It’s going to accumulate even on major roads really fast,” he said.

The precipitation could shift back all snow before system pulls away to the east early Friday, raising the possibility of another inch or two of accumulation on the back side of the storm, he said.

The snow comes after rain over the Veterans Day weekend pushed precipitation for the year at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport to 54.26 inches, according to National Weather Service figures.

That moved 2018 into the No. 2 spot on the list of the wettest years locally since official record-keeping began in 1901, surpassing the 53.71 inches that fell in 1945.

The annual precipitation record is 60 inches in 2011, a mark Pastelok said “might be a sitting duck right now.”

This week’s storm probably will add another an inch or so to the precipitation total, and there is a chance another system will bring more rain or mixed precipitation to the area late next week, he said.

Early December doesn’t look as cold or as unsettled, but the forecast suggests that will change by the middle of next month, Pastelok said.

“Look at week two, week three for it to pick up again, possibly another storm or two with snow in the middle of December,” Pastelok said.

Contact the writer:

dsingleton@timesshamrock.com, 570-348-9132

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