Cold weather, potential snow this weekend
Yorkers might want to bundle up this weekend. Experts are calling for some colder weather on Saturday, and AccuWeather is forecasting some potential snow or wintry mix for Friday night into Saturday.
Andy Mussoline, meteorologist for AccuWeather in State College, said a storm attempting to develop near the mid-Atlantic coast could bring snow or sleet Friday night into Saturday. He said the county could be hit by the northern edge of the storm, bringing in a wintry mix that could occur Friday night and sporadically throughout the day Saturday.
"There is still a chance that any shift in the track could change the impact to the area," he said. "It will be a storm to keep an eye on."
“Snowfall during April is not unusual," he said, adding that typical snowfall for April is around a half of an inch and that there were traces of snow in April during the past two years.
He said the accumulation they are forecasting will most likely be minimal, causing more of a nuisance than anything else.
“At this point we’re thinking no more than slushy coating,” he said.
John LaCorte, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in State College, said they are not forecasting snow for the weekend.
"I don't see anything worse than flurries," he said. He said if it does happen, it won't occur until the end of the weekend.
"It's just a cold air mass coming in and out of Canada," he said. "Just a shift in the pattern, nothing unusual, nothing earth-shattering."
Crops and cold weather: Mussoline said Tuesday going into Wednesday AccuWeather was projecting a low of 20 degrees, breaking the record low of 24 degrees for April 6 set in 1968. He said they were projecting another close to record-breaking low for Saturday night, with a forecast low of 23 and the record being 19 for April 9, 1985.
With the warmer than usual March, many trees have started to bloom early. The cold weather pattern could be bad news for them.
"There's a significant risk to farmers, especially looking at apples trees, peaches, plums, cherries; there could be significant damages to the crop because of the early bloom this year," Mussoline said.
"There are some consequences to having such mild weather at the end of a winter season,” he said.
Tim Elkner, horticultural educator for the Penn State Extension of Lancaster County, said strawberries and stone fruits, such as apricots, peaches, plums and cherries, could be at risk with the colder weather.
He said the type of fruits can withstand different degrees, but it's hard to tell how much will be affected because each orchard could have different circumstances because of its location.
"It's a little hard to say exactly how things will end up," he said.
Elkner said typically growers will throw something called a "row cover," which he likened to a type of blanket that holds heat in, to cover strawberries, but that can only do so much. With wind potentially blowing the row cover off, that could be a problem as well.
“Hopefully this pattern will settle out,” Elkner said. "It's been a tough week if you're a fruit grower."
Elkner said there is not much growers could do to protect their crops during the colder weather.
"It's beyond their control," he said. "What actions they might be able to take are limited."
What's next: The next few days, weather will fluctuate, according to Mussoline.
“Essentially the next one and a half to two weeks here, we see these roller coasters, favoring on the cold side.”
He said this week started cool and will warm up in the middle of the week before cooling down again over the weekend.
AccuWeather is projecting highs of 54 degrees on Wednesday, 59 Thursday and 51 Friday, and eventually cooling down to a high of 40 degrees for Saturday.
“Colder air is going to continue to filter in Friday night into Saturday,” he said.
Mussoline said things could change by the end of April and early May, with warmer weather expected.
"Chances are going to swing to the warm side of average," he said.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org.