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Yes, those were snowflakes in the Philly region Wednesday; nasty rainstorm likely for the weekend

The first flakes of the season were sighted across the area, and an unpleasant weekend is likely on the way.

Pedestrians brace themselves against the snow during a snow squall in Center City in January. Not much snow fell the rest of the season.
Pedestrians brace themselves against the snow during a snow squall in Center City in January. Not much snow fell the rest of the season.Read moreHEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer

PennDot didn’t summon the salt trucks, and the region’s snowplows continue to accumulate dust, but snowflakes were indeed sighted in the region Wednesday morning, even by reputable witnesses.

They were wind-blown escapees from the lake-effect storms that have creamed parts of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Ohio, said Robert Deal, meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office in Mount Holly.

For the record, the several inches that fell upon the Erie and Cleveland areas were “quite a bit more than we’ve seen in the last year and a half,” said Deal. That would be true; last winter’s seasonal total in Philadelphia officially was 0.3 inches.

Flurries did appear across the region Wednesday morning, with sightings reported in Bucks and Montgomery Counties and right outside the weather service office in Mount Holly, Burlington County. The Poconos region weighed in with from 0.5 to 0.8 inches, and a dusting was reported in northwestern Chester County.

With winds gusting to 30 mph, temperatures felt as if they were near-freezing, but given that the surface temperatures have remained well above freezing, the flakes were doomed to short careers.

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That might be it for snow for a while, at least in the immediate Philadelphia area, forecasters said.

A potentially potent storm is due to blow up off the coast on Friday, and then take its time going away. Snow would be pretty much out of the question, Deal said, with highs Friday and Saturday around 50, but the interior Northeast could see a significant snowstorm.

But predicting the storm’s outcome evidently has been giving the computer models brain cramps.

“This has been one of the poorer and most inconsistent performances by the model guidance in recent memory,” Deal’s colleague Jonathan O’Brien said in the afternoon forecast discussion.

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It appears that heavy rain is likely Friday night into Saturday for the Philadelphia region. Flooding could be a concern, Deal said, with 1 to 3 inches of rain possible atop ground still wet from Monday’s downpours.

As of late Wednesday, however, everything was subject to change.