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Berks Winter Cast

Underated Storms Archive

Februaury 2-4 1995
 
 
A low pressure system developed over Oklahoma on the 2nd and moved into the lower Tennessee Valley the morning of the 3rd. At 1900 EST on the 3rd the low was in northeast Kentucky and it reached West Virginia by 0100 EST on the 4th.
 
 
At the same time, a second low pressure system was forming over central North Carolina. At 0700 EST on the 4th double barrel low pressure systems were over the Delaware coastal waters and just north of Cape Hatteras.
 
 
 
The Delaware coastal low quickly intensified and became the main system as it reached central Long Island the afternoon of and Cape Cod the evening of the 4th.
 
 
For most of eastern Pennsylvania, this storm represented the heaviest snow of the winter. For southeastern parts of the state, it was the only heavy snow of the season. Light snow spread across eastern Pennsylvania the evening of the 3rd. Heavy snow fell across southeast Pennsylvania from 0200 to 0800 EST and northeast Pennsylvania from 0500 EST to noon on the 4th.
 
 
Accumulations averaged five to eight inches over the Susquehanna Valley, 7 to 11 inches around the Scranton Metropolitan Area and the Lehigh Valley, 8 to 12 inches in the Poconos and Susquehanna County, and 9 to 15 inches in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area. The heaviest snow fell in Bucks County, with a foot or more reported in most of the county, along with the highest accumulation in Doylestown (15 inches).
 
 
 

January 25 2000
 
The most intense and widespread winter storm since the Blizzard of 1996 buried Eastern Pennsylvania on the 25th with around 12 inches of snow.  The low pressure system responsible for the winter storm began as a weak low pressure system on a stationary front in southern Texas on the 23rd. By the morning of the 24th, it was located in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico near Apalachicola, Florida. Initial projections were for this storm system to stay far enough offshore for the heaviest precipitation to fall over the ocean and a more significant storm was expected on Wednesday the 26th. But, by Monday evening the 24th, it became apparent that the storm would not safely go out to sea. In fact, it was intensifying and hugging the South Atlantic Coast. By 7 a.m. EST on the 25th, it was about a 980 millibar low just northeast of Cape Hatteras.
 
 
The storm's greatest intensification was over, but it moved northeast near the Atlantic Seaboard, instead of eastnortheast as was originally expected.
 
Comparison of Forecast vs. Observations
 
The snow began with a vengeance between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. EST across Eastern Pennsylvania. Snowfall rates of around 2 inches per hour were common during the first couple hours of this storm. By the morning rush hour, several inches had already accumulated around the Philadelphia area.
 
 
After sunrise, as warmer air came in above the ground and the precipitation intensity slackened, the snow began mixing with and changing over to sleet and freezing rain across Southeast Pennsylvania. It was still snowing across the rest of Eastern Pennsylvania, but at a lighter rate.
 
 
Nevertheless by mid morning there was already 5 inches of snow on the ground in Berks County and by noon, there was already 6 inches of new snow in Stroudsburg (Monroe County).  Southeast Pennsylvania spent most of the daylight hours in the storm's "dry slot" - an area of lighter precipitation. As colder air became more deeply entrenched, after 2 p.m. EST, the wintry mix started to change to sleet and then snow. Precipitation was mainly snow with a little sleet mixed in around Philadelphia during the evening.
 
 
The change to mainly snow coincided with another heavier band of precipitation that affected Eastern Pennsylvania during the evening of the 25th. The snow ended by Midnight EST.
 
 
 
Total Accumulations (going from northwest to southeast across the region) included: in Monroe County 13 inches in Saylorsburg, 11 inches in Long Pond, 10 inches in Bossardsville and East Stroudsburg, 7 inches in Scotia and 6.5 inches in Pocono Summit; in Northampton County, 14 inches in Williams Township and 7 inches in Bath; in Lehigh County 10 inches at the Lehigh Valley International Airport, 7 inches in Allentown; in Berks County 11 inches at the Blue Marsh Lake, 10 inches in Morgantown and Vinemont, 8 inches in Kutztown and Lincoln Park; in Chester County 12 inches in Kennett Square and West Barlborough Township, 11 inches in Downingtown and West Chester, 9 inches in Coatesville and 8 inches in Honey Brook and Glenmoore; in Montgomery County 14 inches at the Willow Grove NAS, 12 inches in Wynnewood, 11.5 inches in Norristown, 11 inches in King of Prussia and 7 inches in Pottstown; in Bucks County 13.6 inches in Chalfont, 12.5 inches in Furlong, 12 inches in Doylestown and 9 inches in Springtown and Langhorne; in Delaware County 11 inches in Springfield and 9 inches at the Philadelphia International Airport.
 
 

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January 20 2001
 
A vigorous upper air disturbance coupled with a low pressure system that was intensifying east of the New Jersey coast produced heavy snow across Eastern Pennsylvania.
 
 
Precipitation started again as snow across most of Eastern Pennsylvania during the late afternoon and early evening of the 20th. In and around the local Philadelphia area, where the air mass was warmer, precipitation started as rain. During the evening precipitation then changed to sleet and then snow and by 10 p.m. EST it was snowing throughout Eastern Pennsylvania. The heaviest precipitation, thus the largest accumulation of snow fell in a band from Lancaster County northeastward through the Lehigh Valley. Accumulations ranged from three to twelve inches. The upper air disturbance was so strong that thunderstorms were reported in Delaware County and the Lehigh Valley. The snow ended shortly after daybreak on the 21st, except in the Poconos where it lingered throughout most of the morning.
 
 
Specific accumulations included 12 inches in Camelback Mountain (Monroe County) and Morgantown (Berks County), 10.8 inches in Williams Township (Northampton County), 8.3 inches in Reading (Berks County), 8.1 inches in Glenmoore (Chester County), 8 inches in Sellersville (Bucks County), Macungie (Lehigh County) and Saylorsburg (Monroe County), 7.6 inches in Boyertown (Berks County), 7.5 inches in Albrightsville (Carbon County), 7 inches in at the Lehigh Valley International Airport and Pottstown and Green Lane (Montgomery County), 6.5 inches in Downingtown (Chester County), 6.3 inches in East Stroudsburg (Monroe County), 6 inches in Fricks (Bucks County), 5.3 inches in Somerton (Philadelphia), 5 inches in Wynnewood (Montgomery County), 4.5 inches in Hamburg (Berks County), Jim Thorpe (Carbon County) and Valley Forge (Chester County), 4 inches in Clifton Heights and Crum Creek (Delaware County) and 3.6 inches at the Philadelphia International Airport.
 

February 5 2001
 
 
The low pressure system responsible for the heavy snow developed along a stationary front just east of Florida on the 4th. By the morning of the 5th, it moved north to near Elizabeth City, North Carolina. It then intensified rapidly (a drop of about 25 millibars during the next 24 hours) as it moved northeast and reached Nova Scotia during the morning of the 6th. The air mass over the region was marginally cold for snow, especially around Philadelphia. But, the precipitation intensity was so great (storm total water equivalents were around 1.5 inches), that the heat required to melt the snow aloft (called the latent heat of fusion) chilled the air mass and made the snow capable of reaching the ground. This type of snowstorm is typically called a "warm snowstorm" because the low pressure system itself manufactures the cold air needed to make the snow reach the ground.
 
 
Specific accumulations included in Berks County: Mohnton 14.5 inches, Bechtelsville 13 inches, Reading 10 inches and Lincoln Park 9.5 inches, in Bucks County: 18 inches in Springtown, 14.7 inches in Chalfont, 13.5 inches in Sellersville, 8 inches in Doylestown and 4 inches in Levittown, in Carbon County: 11 inches in Albrightsville, 10 inches in Meckesville and 9 inches in Jim Thorpe and Lehighton, in Chester County: 11 inches in Kimberton, 10 inches in Exton, 7.4 inches in Glenmoore, 6 inches in Valley Forge and 4 inches in Oxford. In Delaware County: 12.4 inches in Radnor, 7.5 inches in Newtown and 4 inches in Crum Creek, In Lehigh County: 17.5 inches in Coopersburg, 17 inches in Salisbury Township, 16 inches in Alburtis and 13 inches at the Lehigh Valley International Airport, in Monroe County: 16 inches in Saylorsburg, 13.5 inches in East Stroudsburg, 12 inches in Scotia and 10 inches in Pocono Summit, In Montgomery County: 14 inches in Palm, 13 inches in King of Prussia, 12 inches in Pottstown, 11 inches in Hatfield and 9 inches in Whitemarsh, in Northampton County: 18 inches in Williams Township, 17 inches in Palmer Township, 13 inches in Easton and 12 inches in Bethlehem and in Philadelphia County: 8 inches in Manayunk, 5.5 inches in Somerton, 4 inches at the Franklin Institute and 3 inches at the Philadelphia International Airport.