Spring set for snowy, wet start

Helene Ross, the store manager at the Rommel’s Ace Home Center in west Dover, said she has plenty of winter supplies on hand in case the area gets an anticipated 3 to 6 inches of snow in a nor’easter that is projected to hit today and Wednesday. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

DOVER — Today marks the first day of spring, which usually brings with it warm thoughts of flowers blooming, birds chirping and spending time outdoors.

Not so fast this year.

Nor’easter No. 4, the fourth nasty winter storm to hit Delaware this month, is predicted to smack the state with a powerful 1-2 punch.

It will begin with a soaking overnight rain early this morning with high winds coming from the northeast before turning into a wintry mix this afternoon and then developing into accumulating snow on Wednesday morning.

“It’s really two storm systems that we have to deal with,” said Alex Seymore, a meteorologist for WBOC-TV. “The first (Monday) night into (this) morning, we see the precipitation intensity lessen as the first wave of low pressure moves away from the area and then regains its’ intensity overnight (tonight) into Wednesday morning.

“That second area of low pressure is when we see our best chance of seeing any accumulating snow here on Delmarva.”

For those looking for possible snow totals, Mr. Seymore predicted the Dover area could receive 1.26 inches of rain as well as 3 to 6 inches of snow on Wednesday. He is expecting 1 to 3 inches of snow for most of Sussex County.

“Dover (and points) north has the best chance of seeing that significant snow,” Mr. Seymore said. “You could see a significant snow event as we head into Wednesday.

“Places further south will see snow … it’s just how quickly does that change over and how heavy does the snow fall? Because we’re competing against the March sun angle.”

For those in need of late season snow supplies, Helene Ross, store manager at Rommel’s Ace Home Center at 321 Independence Boulevard in west Dover, said she has plenty on hand.

She said no one had asked her where the snow shovels were at around 1 p.m. on Monday but expected interest may pick up as the forecast for snow heats up.

“We’re waiting on the (updated) forecast,” Ms. Ross said. “It is a little late in the year but thank goodness we have plenty (of supplies) left over because we didn’t have very much snow this year. We’ve got plenty of salt and stuff on hand.”

Shelby Seeney, of Dover, said she doesn’t even want to think about the possibility of winter lingering around.

“I’m ready to go to the beach,” Ms. Seeney said. “I’m over the winter and am ready for spring.”

Dover’s Dave Pearson had the first week of spring circled on his calendar and was all set for outdoor activities this weekend.

“I actually had plans to go camping this weekend,” he said. “The potential snow could ruin that for us. Wet ground is no fun for camping. I’ve been itching to get to the woods.”

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for northern and central Delaware.

Today, the NWS is calling for rain before 4 p.m. and then rain, possibly mixed with snow and sleet with a high temperature near 37. It will be breezy, with a northeast wind of 16 to 21 mph and gusts as high as 36 mph. The chance of precipitation is 100 percent.

Rain, snow and sleet is anticipated before 9 tonight, then rain likely between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m., possibly mixed with sleet after 1 a.m. It will remain breezy with a northeast wind 17 to 21 mph.

Things could really get nasty on Wednesday morning at around 7 a.m. in Dover, though things could easily change due to an uncertainty in the track of the second storm, the NWS said.

“There is a potential for significant snowfall if the storm tracks close enough to the area,” the weather service said. “The combination of heavy wet snow and gusty northeast winds could lead to extensive power outages in this scenario.

“However, there is still considerable uncertainty in the track of the second coastal storm, so please continue to monitor the latest forecast.”

The NWS is predicting snow and sleet likely before 8 a.m. on Wednesday, then snow, which will continue to fall all day to around 11 p.m.

There will be a high temperature near 36 degrees and it will be breezy, with a northeast wind 18 to 21 mph. New snow and sleet accumulation of 2 to 4 inches is possible.

Thursday brings with it a break, mostly cloudy skies and a high near 45 degrees.

“I just wish we could be done with winter already,” said Mary Ressler, of Dover. “I’m ready for warmer days and getting things done outside.”

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