PennDOT readies crews for storm

Rain, sleet and snow are expected to move through Blair and surrounding counties today and Wednesday, creating hazardous conditions for Thanksgiving holiday travelers.

“At the very least, it’s going to be a real sloppy mess,” said meteorologist Erik Pindrock of AccuWeather, a State College-based weather forecasting service.

In anticipation of the storm, PennDOT scheduled highway crews to start at 4 a.m. today and plan to remain on duty based on local conditions.

“They’ll be out even beyond when the precipitation stops,” PennDOT spokeswoman Tara Callahan-Henry said. “Especially trying to avoid refreezing of roads.”

Pindrock said local residents can expect to see light snowfall this morning.

“Initially, there will be nothing too heavy, but the temperatures will be cold enough that what falls will stick,” Pindrock said. “Then in the midafternoon, you’ll begin to see a steady precipitation of mostly snow. In the late afternoon to early evening hours, that’s going to change into an icy mix … depending on the temperature.”

Wednesday’s forecast calls for “maybe an inch or two” of snow in Blair County, Pindrock said.

The storm moving into the area will be part of what the National Weather Service refers to as a complicated storm that developed over the Central Gulf Coast and as of late Monday, appeared to be plotting a path for the Northeast.

“Anyone planning to travel as of midday [today] and into late Wednesday afternoon will be impacted by the weather,” Pindrock said.

Those heading west from Blair County will encounter more snow, he said, while those heading east will encounter rain. Those heading north will likely deal with snow or an icy mix and those heading south, he said, will initially encounter an icy mix that turns into rain.

Callahan-Henry recommends travelers take precautions and be prepared.

“Before leaving, they should do a check of their vehicles and make sure fluid levels are where they need to be,” she said.

She also recommends packing an emergency kit and letting others know of your departure and anticipated arrival time. While on the road, she recommends drivers increase their following distance during hazardous conditions, in addition to avoiding sudden stops and starts.

Travelers can check road conditions by calling 511 or by logging onto the www.511pa.com website.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.