Jeff Neiburg & Isabel Hughes
The forecast for the nor'easter expected to dump several inches of snow and bring whipping winds and the potential for icing and flooding throughout the Delaware Valley is becoming clearer.
The National Weather Service updated its forecast Saturday evening, less than 24 hours before snow is expected to begin falling in Delaware.
As has been predicted, New Castle County is expected to see the most accumulation, but the weather service is no longer predicting 8 to 12 inches between Sunday afternoon and Monday night. The area is now forecasted to receive 9 inches of snow, as well as the possibility of some light ice accumulation during the day Monday.
The latest models show the possibility of 5 inches inches of snow in the Kent County area and more modest totals, about 2 inches, in the areas south of Dover.
The expected area of heaviest snow shifted northward Saturday, prompting the slight dip in expected accumulation in New Castle County.
A winter storm warning is in effect in New Castle County from 7 a.m. Sunday until 10 a.m. Tuesday. Kent and Sussex counties are under winter weather advisories.
The storm is expected to arrive Sunday after 11 a.m., the weather service said. New Castle County could see 1 to 2 inches during the afternoon and an additional 2 to 4 inches Sunday night into Monday.
"Overnight Sunday night into Monday morning a mix with and change to sleet and rain is likely near the coast and possibly as far as near the I-95 corridor for a brief time," the weather service said Saturday.
Monday morning will bring a mixture of snow, freezing rain and sleet to northern Delaware. The weather service said sleet is expected between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Monday before the precipitation changes again to snow. Ice accumulation of less than one-tenth of an inch is possible, and snow and sleet accumulations of 1 to 3 inches is also possible.
Kent and Sussex counties are likely to see only rain Monday, but a lot of it, along with strong winds.
A band of higher snowfalls remains possible, but it will depend on the "amount of mixing," the weather service said.
According to weather officials, there could be some coastal flooding, too. The biggest concerns are for Delaware and New Jersey during Monday and Tuesday morning's high tides.
In addition to flooding, the National Weather Service said "very strong winds" are expected near the coast, with gusts potentially reaching 40 to 50-plus mph, making travel difficult and raising the possibility for power outages.
A gale watch is in effect for the Delaware Atlantic coastal waters and Delaware Bay for Sunday night through Monday night.