Latest winter storm could bring a foot of snow

The weather forecast for central Pennsylvania on Sunday holds two possibilities. One is the area could get more than a foot of snow by the end of Monday. But the current forecast is for 8-12 inches.

“There are two pieces to this puzzle,” Accuweather forecaster Randy Adkins said. “There’s a cold front coming out of the Northeast, pushing southward and delivering colder air to Pennsylvania. At the same time, a storm system currently over the coast of California is pushing heavy rain – that feature will arrive in Altoona by Sunday.”

Based on the current forecast, the axis of heaviest precipitation from the storm currently over California won’t hit Altoona.

“But we are concerned it will end up over Altoona. That’s why we are cautioning that there could be over a foot of snow, up to 16 inches,” Adkins said.

Currently, Altoona is more likely to receive 8-12 inches of snow, he said.

The axis of heaviest precipitation is forecast for areas south of Altoona.

Adkins said the storm will come in phases. The first phase of precipitation traveling from the West Coast will arrive prior to the cold front from the Northeast, so the forecast for Sunday is mixed precipitation. But the main phase of the storm system from the West will arrive Sunday night into Monday.

“Sunday afternoon into the first half of Monday is when the bulk of it will occur,” National Weather Service forecaster Kevin Fitzgerald said.

Temperatures that follow in the storm’s wake next week are forecast to be well below normal, Fitzgerald said.

“We will have to wait until Friday to get above freezing again,” he said, adding that the normal highs are in the mid-40s for the same week in years past.

The weather today, however, is expected to be mild, with temperatures in the 30s.

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.