If you've been dreaming of a white Christmas, it looks like Mother Nature is gearing up to grant your wish.
A winter storm watch has been issued for parts of northwestern Pennsylvania, including Warren County, which remains in effect through Saturday evening.
According to Craig Evanego, National Weather Service State College meteorologist, wet weather is on the way, which is predicted to turn to snow just in time for the first day of winter on Friday.
"We're actually going to have some rain tonight before it switches over," Evanego said. "You're looking at approximately an inch or so of accumulation by morning."
Evanego forecasted a low around 30 degrees as winds coming into Warren County begin to shift, bringing air in from a "west or northwesterly direction," over Lake Erie.
"That should make for some chillier air," Evanego said.
Evanego said he expects Friday's temperatures to hover around freezing, between 30 and 32 degrees during the day. An additional two to four inches of snow is expected.
Assuming the Mayan apocalypse fails to materialize, the conditions are expected to persist into Saturday with temperatures in the upper 20s and blustery winds up to 30 miles per hour.
By Sunday, Evanego said, the precipitation should clear up but the cooler air will stick around.
According to Evanego, eight to 12 inches of snow is expected through Saturday evening, with larger accumulations in traditional snow belts.
Temperatures will remain on the chilly side through Christmas, hovering in the lower 30s.
"We could have a bit of a wintry mix late in the day," Evanego said of Tuesday's forecast. "Probably most of what falls (Friday and Saturday) will stick around."
Besides falling on the official start of winter, the storm will encompass one of the heaviest travel weekends of the year.
"A winter storm watch means there is a potential for significant snow, sleet or ice accumulations that may impact travel," a National Weather Service press release said.
The release predicted visibilities "below one mile at times in snow or blowing snow."
Wes Hess, PennDOT's maintenance manager for Warren and Forest counties, said his department is prepared to deal with the coming storm.
"We've been ready and waiting for the weather to change," Hess said. "We're geared up with all of our trucks, material and people to go into a 24-hour-a-day cycle even through the holidays.
"It's always an adjustment for the public during the first few snowstorms and the timing here isn't great because of the holiday travel. We try to keep that in mind and we'll do our best to keep roadways safe for travelers."
The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts an increase in people traveling at least 50 miles this Christmas season over last year.
"AAA forecasts 93.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the upcoming holidays, a 1.6 percent increase over the 91.8 million people who traveled one year ago," according to a AAA press release. "AAA defines the year-end holiday travel season as Friday, Dec. 22, to Monday, Jan. 1, 2013. More than one in four Americans are expected to take a trip this season."
AAA predicts 91 percent of holiday travelers will travel by automobile. They also expect an increase in distance traveled from an average of 726 miles last year to an average of 760 miles.