Two days of nonstop snowfall possible in York County

Harper Ho
York Dispatch
Josiah Koehler of Glen Rock takes a bike ride on the York County Heritage Rail Trail in the falling snow through Glen Rock Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. "I just wanted to get some cardio," he said. Bill Kalina photo

York County could see near nonstop snowfall for two days beginning Sunday as a snowstorm approaches central Pennsylvania.

"It's going to be a long duration, sorta steady snow but certainly some heavier bands and some lighter bands," said John Banghoff, National Weather Service in State College meteorologist. "But generally speaking, yeah, we're talking about potential for 36 to 48 hours worth of snowfall."

Meteorologists are predicting snow for the region, but they can't confidently gauge how much might fall yet because conflicting computer models about the storm's eventual path are muddying the projections. 

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"Right now we're figuring on a 6 to 10 inch snowfall although there are still a lot of question marks with this storm," said Thomas Kines, AccuWeather senior meteorologist. "Our confidence factor is a little low right now. We'll have to wait and see how this storm behaves."

Kines said computers in the United States, Canada, Japan and Europe for example are forecasting from a few inches to more than a foot of snow could fall on the region.

 "It's a big discrepancy. It's not like we've never seen it before. This happens. It's not all that unusual for it to happen," he said. "We've kind of blended a few of the models together. When there's a big discrepancy like this, it's usually our best bet to average a few of them together."

Snowfall is expected to start Sunday and continue through Monday night and possibly linger into Tuesday in York County, according to NWS. 

Kines said a reason for the discrepancy is that the computers are projecting the storm takes different routes. Some are forecasting the snowstorm will track to the south while others take it farther north. 

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Banghoff said the snowstorm appears to be concentrated mostly across central and eastern Pennsylvania with southern regions most likely ending up with some of the highest total in the Commonwealth.

"It's a bit too early to nail down specific amounts or precipitation type or impacts but potential does exist for significant snowfall accumulation especially as you get farther south in Pennsylvania," Banghoff said. "At this point, the most likely location to receive some significant snowfall would be areas south of I-80 in Pennsylvania, which would include York County."

Banghoff said two separate storms will merge. One of the system is coming from the Rocky Mountains and the other is from the southern Atlantic off the coast of Florida and the Carolinas.

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"When the two of those sync up, that is when we will likely have development of a nor'easter, which will be bringing significant snowfall to parts of the northeast," Banghoff said. 

This winter storm has the potential to bring significant snowfall that could cause hazardous travel and slippery roads during that timeframe, Banghoff said. 

Friday's forecast shows partly sunny skies, with a high near 28. Northwest wind from 13 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 36 mph. The night's for forecast shows partly cloudy, with a low around 16.