Crawford County is in for some relatively unseasonal weather over the weekend as near-record highs for December crawl their way up the east coast, bringing thunderstorms, possible flooding and a warm front.
Tuesday night’s lake effect snow warning is still in effect until about 6 p.m. this evening, according to the National Weather Service in Cleveland, but the cold air mass is expected to make way for temperatures pushing the upper 40s by Saturday and Sunday.
“Parts of the area will see significant snow fall and enough wind to cause drifting snow,” said Tom Kines, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather in State College. “Thursday’s temperatures will start to rise above freezing and become mild Friday and Saturday, possibly as high as the 50s.”
With warmer weather comes the threat of rain, according to further AccuWeather reports, warning of a flood risk as warm, moist air comes up from the Gulf of Mexico.
“Enough rain can fall by itself to cause flash, urban and small stream flooding in some areas,” AccuWeather reports read. “This includes areas from the Gulf Coast northward to around the Great Lakes and the Northeast.”
The worst of the southern-based storms, however, isn’t likely to impact Crawford County as much as surrounding areas, according to Julie Coates, meteorologist for Erie’s WICU-12 TV.
“The models I’m looking at are showing a potential one to two inches, with the heaviest rain coming on Sunday,” she said.
Coates doesn’t believe the county will see the 50 degrees or more predicted for other areas of Pennsylvania.
Rather, the issue to watch during these fluctuating temperatures is the risk of ice.
“By Tuesday, we should be back down to the 20s,” she said. “We could see ice in some areas. Crawford County hasn’t seen the really heavy snowfall like in Erie County, but it’s something to keep an eye on.”
Allen Clark, director of Emergency Management for the Crawford County Office of Emergency Services, says the situation is worthy of care and monitoring, but no preventative actions are called for yet.
“The National Weather Service hasn’t given us any major advisories or warnings other than the lake effect snow,” he said. “They keep an eye on flooding and other things. We usually get our initial warnings from them.”
Flooding is a possibility, Clark said, but usually not a major threat until the spring months when the snow melts to a greater degree.
He advises caution regardless of circumstances and possibilities during these winter months.
“People should always be watching forecasts and areas they travel,” Clark added. “If we get some nuisance flooding, definitely don’t drive through standing water.”
Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.