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Surprise snow crowns Jersey Shore area with several inches

There's a slight chance of a snow shower in Philadelphia.

Snow lies on top of a Hadrosaurus statue during a light snow winter scene in Haddonfield on Wednesday.
Snow lies on top of a Hadrosaurus statue during a light snow winter scene in Haddonfield on Wednesday.Read moreJOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer

A highly localized but surprisingly vigorous snowfall ambushed areas near the Jersey Shore with up to 7.5 inches and spread a midday coating as far west as Philadelphia.

Earlier forecasts had called for one to three inches near the Shore, but at lunchtime the National Weather Service hoisted the warning, and snow continued into the evening.

“It’s sort of an over-producer,” said Trent Davis, a meteorologist at the Mount Holly office. At 1 p.m., a “trace” was reported officially at Philadelphia International Airport, and even that was a trace more than expected.

The snow blossomed from east to west along a narrow frontal zone, and rates of up to an inch an hour were reported, the weather service said.

No precipitation is in the forecast for the Philadelphia area for the remainder of the week, but temperatures will remain below normal -- even below normal for January -- with daytime highs in the mid-30s to around 40 degrees, and overnight lows in the mid-20s to about 30 degrees.

Forecasters in the meantime are looking at a potential nor’easter that could develop across the southern United States and move northeast off the Carolina coast late this weekend and early next week.

Davis said the origins of that system had just entered California, which means it can now be monitored by land-based measurements that should give computer models a big assist in determining its future.

While the official forecast was bone-dry as of late Wednesday, with the U.S. and European computer models keeping it to the south, the weather service advised that it was quite subject to change. “To be blunt, I am not buying what the models are selling,” forecaster Chad Shafer said in the late-day discussion.