Accuweather meteorologist Brett Rossio can give you all the technical terms on what’s behind the snowstorm that’s expected to push through central Pennsylvania on Sunday.
He will tell you all about the origins of the storm rooted in the “ Astmospheric River ” that brought high winds and heavy snowfall to parts of California.
There’s the low surface that currently crosses the central plains that draws a ton of moisture from the gulf to the north. This will be joined by a new coastal depression which is expected to form in the Carolinas on Sunday, spewing moisture from the western Atlantic.
All of this will collide with a mass of arctic air pushing down from Canada to fuel what Rossio has described as “a very long lasting snow event”.
And while it’s not what Rossio called “the great tamale,” the slow storm that holds all that moisture will keep the flakes flying hard and steady for days – from Sunday later to Tuesday morning.
“Harrisburg should go around a foot of snow. I wouldn’t be shocked if it was a little more than that, ”Rossio said in a Saturday afternoon phone interview with PennLive. “I believe the heaviest snow will start to fall Sunday evening through Monday and continue until Tuesday morning.”
However, Harrisburg won’t get the worst.
Rossio said the storm’s “sweet spot” is aimed at the Lehigh Valley and the Pocono Mountains, which could take a hit of around 18 inches.
“It’s not the grand tamale, but a slow motion,” Rossio said of the storm. “It’s going to snow for a long time. There are usually one or two large ones per year. It will be one of those. Monday morning’s drive is going to be awful. I can promise you that. “
The national meteorological service declared a winter storm warning this goes into effect for central Pennsylvania starting at 3 a.m. Sunday and ending at 5 a.m. Tuesday. Heavy snowfall is expected across south-central Pennsylvania, with a potential buildup of eight to 12 inches, they said.
The current National Weather Service forecast for Harrisburg is as follows:
Snow, mainly after 1 p.m. High near 29. Light easterly wind increasing to 5 to 9 mph in the morning. The risk of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Snow. Low about 25. Wind northeast 9 to 11 mph, with gusts up to 22 mph. The risk of precipitation is 100%.
Snow. High near 33. Wind northeast 11 to 13 mph, with gusts up to 22 mph. The risk of precipitation is 90%.
Snow likely, mainly before 1 a.m.