Update, 1 p.m.:

York County is under a winter weather advisory until 7 a.m. tomorrow, with several inches of snow in the forecast.

With temperatures hovering right around freezing, precipitation should be mainly snow, said Craig Evanego, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College.

And it could come sooner than forecasters initially thought.

"Looks like it should be starting this afternoon," Evanego said.

Light snow will begin to fall in the late afternoon or early evening -- just in time for the 5 p.m. commute, he said.

"There may be some light snow falling by then," he said.

York is slated to get 2 to 4 inches, with heavier amounts to the north and east, Evanego said. The heaviest snow will fall during the evening hours and stop overnight, he said.

"Everything will be done with by daybreak tomorrow," Evanego said.

Later tonight, winds will pick up and temperatures will drop off, he said.

"By morning, you'll be looking at wind chills in the single digits below zero," Evanego said.

Reported earlier:

It'll be a snowy and cold start to the new year, with a storm expected to hit York County and much of the East Coast Thursday.

The storm, expected to start off as rain, will turn to snow in the afternoon, followed by bitterly cold temperatures, according to the National Weather Service. A winter weather advisory is in effect for York and several other counties, starting at noon Thursday and running through 7 a.m. Friday.

The York area is expected to receive 2 to 4 inches, the weather service says.

The dry, powdery snow will start between 6 to 7 p.m., said Andy Mussoline, meteorologist with AccuWeather, with heavy snow expected between 6 and 10 p.m.

Travel: Coupled with strong winds, the storm could pose travel problems for motorists.

"Because we're going to have wind around, we could get some drifting," Mussoline said.

Northern and eastern parts of the state could see additional snow and New York state and New England could see upwards of more than a foot of snow, according to AccuWeather.

The storm will add to the already above-average snow accumulation the county has received so far this season.

The county received 12½ inches of snow through the end of the year, Mussoline said, adding that normal snowfall amounts usually total just over 4 inches over the same time period.

Cold: The blast of snow will be followed by a blast of even colder weather. The weather service says temperatures will fall into the teens or single digits Friday morning.

And it won't get much better throughout the day. The high for Friday is expected to reach a mere 16, but blustery winds with gusts that could reach 34 mph will make it feel like it's below zero, the weather service said.

Mussoline said motorists should be prepared for cold temperatures if they have to travel and should put food, water and a blanket in their cars.

Even when at home, people should plan for the worst.

"If power goes out during the storm, people should be prepared and should have a plan," he said.

- Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.