February will end with a bang in northwestern Pennsylvania, while it will go out on a rainy, and perhaps thundery note in southern PA. A strong winter storm that was once expected to hit the Midwest hard has trended well east in the past few days. It will now track directly over the state, and is likely to produce heavy snowfall in the Appalachians of western and northern Pennsylvania.
Moderate rain will build into the area Wednesday evening from west to east as the low pressure tracks through central PA. A cold front following directly behind it will turn the rain to snow in Erie and down to the Laurel Highlands just after dinnertime Wednesday. Below is the GFS model for 7:00 PM Wednesday, showing that changeover.
All of western Pennsylvania and much of northern PA will change to snow after 11:00 PM Wednesday. The snow is expected to be very heavy from the Laurel Highlands to the PA wilds (Bradford, St. Marys, Tionesta), and lighter near Pittsburgh. Here is future radar on the GFS for 4:00 AM Thursday.
It is important to note that this will be an overnight event, meaning we won’t be fighting the higher sun angle. Also, snow will be falling at 1″+ an hour in the darker blue highlighted areas on the future radar, so although it’s a quick event, snowfall rates will be very high in those areas.