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Area Forecast Discussion (AFD)

Issued by State College, PA (CTP)

FXUS61 KCTP 192014

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service State College PA
314 PM EST Tue Feb 19 2019

A winter storm will bring significant snow and ice to central 
Pennsylvania on Wednesday. Dry and windy weather is forecast 
Thursday, with fair weather continuing into Friday. The next 
weather system will return precipitation to the area over the 


A sprawling area of high pressure (1038 mb) was centered over
southern New York and stretched westward to Wisconsin this 
morning, with varying amounts of thin cirrus streaming NE across
the Commonwealth. High clouds will thicken-up from the 
southwest through early tonight.

1930Z temperatures are within a deg F or two of their 
forecast maxes ranging from the mid 20s across the north to the
mid 30s in the Lower Susq Valley. The lack of wind under the 
dome of high pressure made it feel a bit warmer in the sun
today, compared to Monday that featured a brisk wind.

Clouds will gradually lower and thicken tonight as high 
pressure retreats into New England. A strong llvl cold air
damming signature will develop east of the Alleghenies south of
the high center. Hires models and ensembles spread WAA front- 
end snow into the Laurel Highlands and south central mtns by 
daybreak Wednesday with slippery travel for the AM commute.

The leading/northern edge of the snow shield will be near the RT
22/322 corridor in South-Central PA around 12Z Wednesday.


*Snow and icy mix will result in travel disruptions Wednesday 
 into Wednesday night 

The CAD pattern will set the stage for significant snow and ice
event for south-central PA on Wednesday. Strong low-level
theta-e advection of rich GOMEX moisture and favorable mid to 
upper level dynamics will support a broad area of wintry precip
overspreading the area Wednesday morning. 

Across the southern half of Pennsylvania, any light snow within
an hour of the onset (between 11Z-14Z Wed) should transition to
a 3-5 hour period of moderate to heavy snow with snowfall rates
of 1 to 2 inches per hour, thanks to strong upper divergence 
and low-mid level FGEN. This area of high prob GRTN 1 inch per
hour lingers the longest across the South-Central Mtns and Lower
Susq Valley, before shifting east of our SE CWA during the mid 
to late afternoon hours. 

Somewhat similar to the Nov 15th, 2018 Winter Storm, this
upcoming one features hefty amounts of moisture, and Max Wet 
bulb temps only creeping a deg or 2 C above zero in an approx 2
kft thick layer (up around 7-9 kft AGL) for the early and mid 
afternoon. Strong UVVEL may cool this slightly above freezing 
layer (or it may be only deep enough to make the snowflakes 
sticky) and delay the changeover to sleet during peak intensity.
This creates a potential error in snow amounts of 2-3 inches on
the low side should the changeover not occur until late 
afternoon across Central PA and the Susq Valley. 

The lower probability of a quicker changeover could trim 
current snow totals by an inch or so. 

Hires model data and NBM maxTw aloft indicate that snow will 
transition to an icy mix of sleet and freezing rain during the 
afternoon/evening before ending (possibly as freezing drizzle) 
late Wednesday night as the thicker mid/high seeder-feeder cloud
deck peels off to the east.

Any lingering precipitation should end Thursday morning as 
increasing westerly flow directs drier air into the area. High 
pressure builds in for Thursday night.


Dry wx continues on Friday before the next Plains-Great Lakes 
storm system spreads precipitation back into the area over the 
weekend. The storm track/pattern looks somewhat similar to the
midweek event, but with stronger/primary low and weaker sfc
high/CAD. This would favor zr or plain (soaking?) rain but will
wait and see how the ptype details evolve in the coming days. 
Temperatures could get quite mild and break into the 50s on 
Sunday before turning breezy and cooler by early next week.


A large area of high pressure will maintain a near certainty of
VFR conditions and light winds over the entire region for the
rest of this afternoon through much of tonight.

High clouds thicken up and lower to a widespread altostratus
ceiling based between 8-10 kft agl between 05-10Z Wednesday,
before lowering to widespread LIFR/VLIFR cigs and vsbys in 
moderate to occasionally heavy snow between 13-19Z Wednesday.

Conditions will remain IFR or lower late Wednesday through most
or all of Wednesday night as warmer/slightly above freezing air
streams in aloft from the south and changes the snow to MDT to
HVY sleet, then periods of lighter freezing rain late Wednesday
afternoon and night.


Wed...Snow (ocnly heavy during the late morning and early
afternoon) changing to to a wintry mix, then mainly freezing 
rain before nightfall.

Thu...AM light freezing rain/low cigs possible.

Fri...AM low cigs possible W Mtns.

Sat...PM rain/low cigs possible.


Winter Weather Advisory from 10 AM Wednesday to 6 AM EST 
Thursday for PAZ004>006-037-041-042-046.
Winter Weather Advisory from 7 AM Wednesday to 6 AM EST 
Thursday for PAZ010>012-017>019-045-049>053-058.
Winter Storm Warning from 4 AM Wednesday to 6 AM EST Thursday 
for PAZ024>026-033>036.
Winter Storm Warning from 6 AM Wednesday to 6 AM EST Thursday 
for PAZ027-028-056-057-059-063>066.


NEAR TERM...Lambert
SHORT TERM...Lambert
LONG TERM...Steinbugl