Motorists urged to use caution as icy storm hits Somerset
Like many Somerset County residents, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials are watching the weather to see how bad the first storm of the season will be.
PennDOT spokeswoman Tara Callahan-Henry said that officials in Somerset will be anti-icing before the storm. PennDOT services the main roads first before treating secondary roads.
“We are still watching the weather to see what the weather is to bring and how it is to begin, so you may not see anti-icing operations beginning until after dark Wednesday evening,” she said. “But we do plan to anti-ice the major routes.”
Paul Walker, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather, said the storm coming into Somerset County will be messy.
“(It is a) very serious storm,” he said. “It will be difficult travel and slippery roads and sidewalks.”
Walker explained that early Thursday morning there will be a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain. Temperatures will dip low overnight and will just get back to the freezing mark.
“Roads are going to be pretty icy,” he said.
At the back end of the storm, he said, the ice will change into snow, possibly dumping 2 to 4 inches on top of the ice. Friday there will be some snow squalls in the morning, but in the afternoon the high will be 38 degrees.
“Saturday will be a dry day, mostly cloudy,” he said.
He said there is a possibility of snow or rain Sunday with a high of 42 degrees.
Callahan-Henry said PennDOT will have crews out throughout the storm and after for plowing and cleanup.
“Motorists need to be aware that roadways will not be free of ice and snow while precipitation is falling,” she said. “Most snow plow routes average 40 miles in length and roadways can become snow-covered before the plow passes again, depending on the rate the snow is falling.”
She recommends that if motorists must travel, they should check 511pa.com or download the app for their phone for up-to-date travel information.
“Packing a winter travel kit to keep in your vehicle is also a great idea for winter,” she said. “Make sure the kit has items per your family’s needs.”
She also reminds motorists not to pass plow trucks or get between trucks plowing in a plow line and to increase distance between other vehicles.