Eighteen inches of snow possible by Saturday

Trees could look something like this from snow starting Friday, 
File photo Trees could look something like this from snow starting Friday, File photo

The snow flurries predicted for Wednesday are “small potatoes compared to what’s coming,” says Jerry Stenger, director of the State Climatology Office. Snow starting early Friday and continuing thought Saturday evening could bring an accumulation of more than a foot and up to 18 inches, he says.

A low pressure system developing in Louisiana and tracking to the northeast is going to bring moisture into the cold air that’s well entrenched here, says Stenger. “Whatever moisture we get will be in the form of snow,” he says.

Stenger says a light snow will begin “in the wee hours Friday morning,” increase in intensity with heavy snowfall by Friday evening, taper off and likely end sometime Saturday evening.

“It’s probably not going to be a light fluffy snow,” he warns. “It will probably be a wet snow.” And that means it will stick to already cold tree surfaces, increasing the likelihood of downing tree branches. Drooping trees and falling branches will be “clobbering power lines,” he predicts.

The past few years have had above average snowfall. Last winter saw 22.3 inches, and the winter of 2013-2014 brought 37.3 inches, the 16th highest snowfall out of 123 years of record keeping at McCormick Observatory, says Stenger. But that doesn’t touch the Snowpocalyptic winter of 2009-2010 with its record 56.8 inches. After that, “a lot of us have come to thumb our noses at 20 to 30 inches,” says Stenger.

Weather professional Stenger says he keeps plenty of food at his house, and he’ll spend a snow day sitting at his computer, looking at data and fielding media calls. For the rest of us, he suggests, “It may not be a bad day to stay at home.”

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