National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

WINTER STORM SUMMARY FOR
MARCH 02, 2014 TO MARCH 3, 2014 EVENT

Synopsis

A cold front settled south of our area during March 2nd, then a couple of low pressure systems tracked along this front. One of these moved through quicker and was weaker during the daytime hours of March 2nd, then there was a lull for awhile before the next one, which was stronger, tracked to our south during March 3rd. This was a complex setup as the initial energy was forecast to track farther north, which would have produced a swath of snow more northward. This however was not the case, and the system tracked farther south and therefore the heavier snow was shifted much farther to the south. There was a sharp gradient near Philadelphia from north to south, where the snowfall went from a few inches to nearly nothing.

Watches/Warnings/Advisories

At 4:02 AM Saturday, March 1st, a Winter Storm Watch was issued for the following areas: In Pennsylvania, Berks, Lehigh, Northampton, Western Montgomery, Eastern Montgomery, Upper Bucks, Lower Bucks, Delaware, Philadelphia, Western Chester and Eastern Chester counties. In New Jersey, Salem, Gloucester, Camden, Northwestern Burlington, Southeastern Burlington, Ocean, Coastal Ocean, Cumberland, Atlantic, Coastal Atlantic, Cape May, Atlantic Coastal Cape May, Middlesex, Western Monmouth, Eastern Monmouth, Mercer, Warren, Morris, Hunterdon and Somerset counties. In Delaware, New Castle, Kent, Inland Sussex and Delaware Beaches counties; and in Maryland, Cecil, Kent, Queen Annes, Talbot and Caroline counties.

At 3:56 AM March 2nd, the Winter Storm Watch was upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning for the following areas: In Pennsylvania, Eastern Montgomery, Lower Bucks, Delaware, Philadelphia, Western Chester and Eastern Chester counties. In New Jersey, Salem, Gloucester, Camden, Northwestern Burlington, Southeastern Burlington, Ocean, Coastal Ocean, Cumberland, Atlantic, Coastal Atlantic, Cape May, Atlantic Coastal Cape May, Western Monmouth, Eastern Monmouth and Mercer counties. In Delaware, New Castle, Kent, Inland Sussex and Delaware Beaches counties; and in Maryland, Cecil, Kent, Queen Annes, Talbot and Caroline counties. At this same time, the Winter Storm Watch was changed to a Winter Weather Advisory for the following areas in Pennsylvania: Berks, Lehigh, Northampton, Western Montgomery and Upper Bucks counties. In New Jersey, Warren, Morris, Hunterdon, Middlesex and Somerset counties. A Winter Weather Advisory was also issued for the following counties in Pennsylvania, Carbon and Monroe counties. In New Jersey, Sussex county.

At 3:42 PM March 2nd, the Winter Weather Advisory was cancelled for Carbon and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania and Sussex county in New Jersey. At 9:22 PM March 2nd, the Winter Storm Warning was cancelled and replaced with a Winter Weather Advisory for the following areas: In Pennsylvania, Western Chester and Lower Bucks counties; in New Jersey, Western Monmouth, Eastern Monmouth and Mercer counties. Also at this time, the Winter Weather Advisory was cancelled for the following areas: In New Jersey, Warren, Morris, Hunterdon, Somerset and Middlesex counties; and in Pennsylvania, Lehigh and Northampton counties.

At 6:45 AM March 3rd, the Winter Weather Advisory was cancelled for the following areas: In Pennsylvania, Berks, Western Montgomery and Upper Bucks counties. At 9:24 AM March 3rd, the Winter Storm Warning was cancelled for the following areas: In Pennsylvania, Delaware, Philadelphia, Eastern Chester and Eastern Montgomery counties. At this same time, the Winter Weather Advisory expired for the following areas: In Pennsylvania, Western Chester and Lower Bucks counties; and in New Jersey, Western Monmouth, Eastern Monmouth and Mercer counties. At 11:41 AM March 3rd, the Winter Storm Warning was cancelled for the following areas: In New Jersey, Salem, Gloucester, Camden, Northwestern Burlington, Southeastern Burlington, Ocean and Coastal Ocean counties; In Delaware, New Castle county; and in Maryland, Cecil county. At 3:27 PM March 3rd, the Winter Storm Warning was cancelled for the following areas: In New Jersey, Cumberland, Atlantic, Coastal Atlantic, Cape May and Atlantic Coastal Cape counties; In Maryland, Kent, Queen Annes, Talbot and Caroline counties; and in Delaware, Kent county. At 5:25 PM March 3rd, the Winter Storm Warning was cancelled for Inland Sussex and Delaware Beaches counties in Delaware.

Precipitation/Temperatures/Winds

This storm occurred in two parts. The first was with a weak system that ended up tracking across the area quickly during the 2nd. There was enough mild air in place where mainly light rain occurred, however a little bit of snow and sleet mixed in for a time mainly north and west of Interstate 95. This precipitation was in general not all that organized and then quickly ended toward the late afternoon. There was then a lull that occurred during the late afternoon and much of the evening hours of the 2nd, with just some sprinkles or mist around. The second part arrived during the late evening hours of the 2nd and then the overnight hours.

As much colder air seeped southward, some light rain mixed with and changed to sleet from near Philadelphia on southward. This area expanded and became more organized during the overnight hours and especially during the morning of the 3rd. The snow fell moderate to heavy at times from Philadelphia on south and eastward during the morning to early afternoon hours of the 3rd. There was however a sharp cutoff from steady snow to little or no snow, and that was from about southern Chester county to Philadelphia then to Monmouth county. From along and south of that line a steady snow occurred, which then ended from northwest to southeast during the day of the 3rd.

Snowfall amounts across portions of southeastern Pennsylvania generally ranged from a coating to 4 inches, with the highest amounts closest to Interstate 95. In New Jersey, the snowfall amounts generally ranged from just a coating in portions of Middlesex county to 1 to 4 inches in Monmouth county, then generally 3 to 7 inches south of there. In Delaware and eastern Maryland, the snowfall amounts generally ranged from 3 to 6 inches. A period of freezing rain resulted in ice accumulations of up to one quarter of an inch from portions of eastern Maryland to southern Delaware. The winds were generally from the north at 10 to 20 mph with some gustiness at times.

Significant Impacts/Aspects

This winter weather event was a forecast challenge as the swath of heavier snow was initially aimed farther north. However, as the event drew closer it became more clear that the heavier snow area was shifting southward. This was due to the main players in the atmosphere becoming better sampled across the Western states. This resulted in the forecast being adjusted several times as it was becoming more clear the higher snowfall amounts would end up being farther south.

The main impact of the this storm was not just the snowfall itself, as the amounts were generally modest, however the temperatures plunged through the twenties and teens during the night of the 2nd and the early morning of the 3rd. There was also some freezing rain in southern Delaware before a change over to snow occurred, which made for hazardous road conditions especially as the temperatures steadily dropped. The combination of the falling temperatures and accumulating snow resulted in snow covered roads and hazardous travel. The conditions did improve though during the afternoon of the 3rd as the snow tapered off and some of the stronger March sunlight made it through the overcast, which assisted in melting the snow off of the roadways.

This storm lead to many school districts either cancelling school for the 3rd or having a 2-hour delay. The southward shift of the accumulating snow probably made it more challenging for decision makers, especially since not to far north and west of Philadelphia little or no snow occurred. There were also airport delays and cancellations due to this storm.

Notes

Information contained in this summary is preliminary. More complete and/or detailed information may be contained in subsequent monthly NOAA storm data publications.