Storm will bring ice and snow to the region | News, Sports, Jobs

A winter storm could bring quarter to half an inch of ice topped with 1 to 2 inches of snow to the area tonight through Friday, according to Accuweather senior meteorologist Dave Bowers.

The area will get plenty of rain today which will turn into freezing rain when overnight temperatures drop to a low of 28 degrees.

“That’s a pretty good soak we’ll have,” said Bower.

Throughout Friday, the freezing rain will gradually change to ice pellets and eventually snow with temperatures remaining below freezing.

“It’s a safe bet that the children will not go to school on Friday”, said Bower.

The amount of ice predicted for the area would be enough to knock down tree limbs and potentially power lines, according to Bowers.

If this happens, Blair County Emergency Services Director Mark Taylor advises keeping flashlights, batteries and radios handy while making sure cell phones are charged.

“Especially with all the fires we have seen recently, I would recommend extreme caution when using alternative heaters, Taylor said. “Be careful of anything that could cause a fire in the house or garage, and be extra careful of appliances that can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.”

Taylor also pointed out that Penelec was taking preventive measures, saying he was already “go into storm mode.”

According to Bowers, treacherous travel would be the biggest thing to worry about with the coming storm.

“I definitely plan to park the car and leave it there, he said.

According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Highway Safety, approximately 46% of all bad weather-related accidents occur during the winter.

“Winter storms, bad weather and poor road conditions are the cause of almost half a million accidents and more than 2,000 road deaths each year”, AAA East Central said in a press release.

Safety press secretary Monica Jones said PennDOT was preparing for the storm as best it could, saying it was monitoring forecasts and making plans accordingly.

“We are not going to pre-treat the roadways because as the storm starts with the rain, everything we put down will be washed away”, says Jones. “But we will have crews ready to weather the storm.”

Jones said that due to the mixed rainfall, PennDOT crews will be armed with chainsaws and pull saws to remove downed trees.

In a press release, PennDOT said that effective 6 p.m., vehicle restrictions are planned for the following roads in Tier 1 of the Commonwealth Weather Event Vehicle Restriction Plan:

I-76 from the Ohio line to Breezewood (exit 161); the entire length of I-80; the entire length of I-99; and all of Pennsylvania Turnpike 43, 66, 376 and 576.

Under Tier 1 restrictions, the following vehicles are not permitted on the affected roads: tractors without trailers; tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded closed trailers, open trailers or tank trailers; tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded tandem trailers; enclosed cargo delivery trucks that meet the definition of a VMC; passenger vehicles (cars, SUVs, vans, etc.) towing trailers; recreational vehicles/campers; school buses, commercial buses and coaches without chains or alternate traction devices; and motorcycles.

If travel is unavoidable, AAA East Central advises never to use cruise control on slippery roads because the vehicle will lose the ability to regain some traction when the driver lifts the throttle. In addition, it indicates that if the vehicle begins to skid, “Keep steering in the direction you want the car to go.”

AAA East Central also emphasized the importance of carrying an emergency kit in your winter-equipped vehicle. It should include items such as sand or kitty litter, a small shovel, flashlight, ice scraper or snow brush, jumper cables, blankets, gloves or mittens, and flares or reflective triangles.

“We don’t want you to be stuck there without the things you need,” says Jones.

According to Bowers, residents of the region will have to deal with ice and snow for some time, as temperatures won’t rise above freezing until Sunday or Monday, and even then only slightly.

“It will be seasonally cold but dry for most of next week,” said Bower.

Mirror Staff Writer Rachel Foor is at 814-946-7458.

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