Snow makes driving miserable Monday; more to come Wednesday
One of the season's biggest snowstorms made Monday morning's commute miserable for many motorists, and the misery may repeat itself Wednesday.
Route 61 in Shamokin, Route 147 south of Sunbury and two locations on I-80 were closed at various times because of accidents all believed to be weather related.
Snow began falling in the overnight hours and had dropped a few inches by 7 a.m. Snow fell at varying rates throughout the morning, accumulating approximately six inches before tapering off at 3:30 p.m.
"It certainly was one the larger snow totals of the season for the area," said National Weather Service meteorologist Rob Radzanowski. "Near Williamsport, they've had snowfalls of 4.8 and 4.6 inches in January, but only 2.3 inches today. We've seen a lot of ranges throughout our coverage area, the most being six inches."
Get ready for part two
With partly sunny skies and high temperatures in the 30s, today will give everyone a chance to clean up - just in time for the second half of this one-two punch of winter storms.
"We have issued a winter storm watch for the area for (tonight) into Wednesday," Radzanowski said. "The weather patterns have the potential for a snowfall of six inches or more, but more could fall north and east of the area."
Meteorologists are reporting that the heaviest snow is expected to start tonight with approximately four inches dropping as the storm continues through Wednesday.
During the day Wednesday, Radzanowski said precipitation could change from snow to a mix of freezing rain and sleet.
"The mix will certainly work to keep the snowfall totals down, but if it doesn't come, an additional two inches will fall on Wednesday. Either way, travel is going to be tricky before the storm tapers off Wednesday evening," he said.
Radzanowski said the potential is there for a third storm Sunday into Monday.
"We will concentrate on that one when Wednesday's snowfall event is finished. There is the potential for more snow, but right now, it doesn't look as significant as the first two," he said.
Local schools were closed Monday, a regular occurrence in the past few weeks because of snow and extremely cold temperatures, but those who did have to travel found the going tough.
Sagon Road in Coal Township was closed Monday morning after a vehicle snapped off a power pole in an 8:08 a.m. accident.
Thomas Swartz, 34, of Elysburg was traveling east on Sagon Road in a Chevrolet S-10 truck, when he lost control of his vehicle and sheared a PPL utility pole. The truck slid into a tree before coming to the stop.
Swartz was treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Fire police from Coal Township and Marion Heights assisted while PPL worked on the pole and the road was reopened at 9:50 a.m., according to the Northumberland County 911 Center.
At 8 p.m., Route 147 was still only open to a single lane at a crash scene south of Sunbury, according to PennDOT. Flaggers were alternating north and south traffic flow.
The highway was closed after a truck crash at 12:50 p.m. between Boyer Hill Road and Route 4018 (Brush Valley Road) in Upper Augusta Township.
Cleanup operations were expected to continue until late Monday night.
At 8:50 a.m., PennDOT had reported the right lane of I_80 eastbound closed at Mile 213 in Northumberland County because of a multiple-vehicle crash just east of the I-180/Route 147 interchange. At 12:32 p.m., a right lane on I-80 west at mile post 251 in Luzerne County was closed due to a crash.
Highway traffic slowed
Due to "extreme winter road conditions," PennDOT reported at 10:40 a.m. Monday that it temporarily reduced the speed limit to 45 mph on I-80 and I-180 in northcentral Pennsylvania. The order was lifted at 1:30 p.m.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike was operating under a winter weather emergency with reduced speeds at 45 mph due to road conditions and poor visibility.