Forecasters: Winter holding on as fresh snow, ice incoming

The weather for the first part of the week will be great for winter outdoor enthusiasts — for those who like skiing for example ­­– but it won’t be any good for motorists.

A light coating of snow that was expected to fall overnight Sunday, leaving perhaps a half an inch of snow on the ground this morning, was just a teaser for what the region is expected to receive overnight tonight.

“When you wake up Tuesday morning, it will look like a total different world,” Barry Lambert, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in State College, said late Sunday afternoon.

Snow was expected to start falling late this afternoon or early this evening, he said.

“A storm coming from the Ohio Valley and drawing moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will cover the area with four to six inches of snow,” Lambert said.

Once the snow is on the ground, watch for the white stuff to “change over to sleet and freezing rain” by the afternoon, making the compacted snow very difficult to shovel, Lambert said.

The freezing rain is not expected to end until late Tuesday, he said. Driving anytime Tuesday will be a challenge, he added.

“If you don’t feel comfortable driving in snow, Tuesday is not going to be a good day to be out,” Lambert said.

“It’s going to be a very heavy snow, a sloppy mess,” he said.

“Shoveling will be strenuous. You will want to be careful. You could throw your back out or have a heart attack. Don’t push yourself too hard or too fast,” Lambert warned.

In the event that schools close, “this will be a great opportunity for kids to get out, help people who can’t shovel themselves and make a few bucks,” he said.

“So far this winter season, the region has received 20.5 inches of snow. We had 17.3 inches by this time last year. The average snowfall by this time of the season is 22.1 inches, and we’ll be well above that by Wednesday morning,” Lambert said.

The state Department of Transportation “is monitoring the weather. We have sufficient materials such as salt and anti-skid on hand, and we’re staffed with winter equipment operators,” Dave Thompson, a departmental spokesman, said Sunday night.

“We will perform winter services as needed throughout the nine-county District 3 region,” he said.

Temperatures are expected to stay in the 30s on Wednesday, a day when it will be “very windy, with wind gusts possibly reaching 50 mph,” Lambert said.

“There could be some isolated power outages and possibly some minor damage to sidings and shingles (on structures) he said.

Thursday will be less breezy with mostly sunny skies. Temperatures will range from the low 40s to the 20s, Lambert said.

The weekend, at this point at least, doesn’t look all that terrific with a “healthy amount of rain” expected on Friday and a chance of snow showers on Saturday, he said.