BY P.J. REILLY, Staff Writer
Here we go again.
For the second time this month, weather forecasters are calling for a significant snowstorm that could leave Lancaster County buried under as much as 5 inches of the white stuff.
"I can say with 100 percent certainty that there is a storm," said Greg DeVoir of the National Weather Service.
"Where exactly the snow falls is tricky."
The National Weather Service said flurries were expected to start falling on Lancaster County shortly after midnight Sunday and pick up steam as dawn approached.
Three to 4 inches were expected to blanket most of the county by 8 a.m., DeVoir said, with as much as 5 inches covering the higher elevations along the northern border.
Snow is expected to continue falling through the afternoon, but it likely won't add to what's already on the ground.
"The sun is at a pretty high angle this time of year, and even though it will be cloudy, radiation still gets through," DeVoir said. "That will make accumulation after about 8 a.m. pretty difficult."
AccuWeather.com was calling for a high temperature today of 34 degrees, followed by a low tonight of 27.
Storms that dump a significant amount of snow -- more than 1 inch -- on Lancaster County in March are rare, according to DeVoir.
"And the later you go in the month, the more rare they become," he said.
Millersville University Weather Information Center records indicate there have been just three March snowfalls measuring more than 1 inch since 2003.
All occurred before March 20, which was the first day of spring this year.
The biggest March snowfall of the past decade came on March 16, 2007, when 7 inches covered Lancaster County, according to the university's records.
Snowstorms in March tend to be fickle and hard to predict, DeVoir said -- as evidenced by the "big storm that wasn't" from March 6.
Forecasters spent the day before warning of the pending arrival of 3 to 6 inches of snow.
In most parts of the county, there was barely a dusting.
"That's typical of these March storms" in southeastern Pennsylvania, DeVoir said.
While up to 5 inches is predicted today by the National Weather Service, DeVoir said "confidence is high that there will be 1 inch of snow accumulation."
When it comes to snow measuring more than 4 inches, "confidence is about 60 percent," he said.
PennDOT spent Sunday evening preparing for the worst.
A total of 310 plow trucks were gassed up and ready to roll throughout the eight-county District 8 region, which includes Lancaster.
In addition, 37 rental plow trucks were brought in to supplement the fleet -- primarily in the district's two largest counties, Lancaster and York.
Work crews were told to be ready to hit the streets at 4 a.m. -- or earlier if the snow started piling up.
Whatever snow does fall today -- if anything -- it's not likely to hang around long.
AccuWeather.com is calling for cloudy skies Tuesday, with high temperatures in the low 40s.
And for the weekend, the mercury finally is expected to climb into the low 50s both Saturday and Easter Sunday.
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