Was 'Winter Storm Stella' the storm that wasn’t?
The pre-spring storm prompted a wide swath of snow emergencies, cancellations and travel warnings. But it certainly wasn't as blizzard-like and disrupting as weather prognosticators anticipated.
Throughout the commonwealth Tuesday, cities experienced varying snow accumulations, many less than originally forecast.
By Tuesday afternoon, travel restrictions were lifted in many Pennsylvania cities and the National Weather Service had cancelled its advisory.
The amounts fell short of forecasters' most dire predictions for the Lehigh Valley but still managed to pack a punch.
The Lehigh Valley received about a foot of snow, less than expected.
"The storm tracked closer to the coast, allowing warmer air to be pulled further westward, which is what resulted in the wintry mix making its way to the Lehigh Valley," Mitchell Gaines, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service told the Allentown Morning Call.
In State College, Penn State took the unusual step of closing, along with local school districts and charter schools. As of about noon Tuesday, snow accumulations ranged from six to nine inches in the Centre Region, less impressive than the 12 –plus inches originally forecast.
Pittsburgh saw about two to three inches of snow, with six inches to a foot expected in the higher elevations; its weather advisory was downgraded to a "hazardous weather outlook" overnight.
"Just a little change in the storm's track is the difference between one to three inches or six to eight inches of snow," National Weather Service meteorologist Lee Hendricks told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
Erie reported two to five inches of snow Tuesday afternoon and expected anywhere from four to seven inches Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, although the accumulation would be harder to measure once the snow turns into "lake effect" snow, which is more like a squall, said Karen Clark, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service to GoErie.com
One place the storm didn't disappoint was in Berks County, where it dumped 15 to 16 inches of snow. U.S. Post Office officials suspended mail delivery throughout central Pennsylvania.
There were no major incidents, storm-related or otherwise, overnight and into Tuesday morning in Harrisburg, York or Lancaster, according to city police and public works personnel.
The further east the storm went, the less snow it produced.
In Philadelphia, residents woke up to the sounds of sleet and ice and freezing rain pelting their windows, along with high winds that knocked out power and caused coastal flooding along the New Jersey shore.
The icy weather translated into downed electrical wires and treacherous driving conditions.
Still, South Philadelphian Rob Watson wasn't impressed.
"We wanted light, fluffy, and volume," Watson said. "Instead, we got a storm that feels like my cake fell in the oven."
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