2008-12-25 / Front Page

Christmas Eve, Day Weather Cold, Windy

By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

While Santa Claus and his troop of elves are finishing up the final touches on his sleigh full of toys and holiday joy, temperatures are well below zero at the North Pole. Meanwhile, as the jolly ole man decked out in red prepares for his ride to Fulton County, local residents are bundling up and battening down the hatches for some frosty weather of their own.

Winter officially got under way Sunday, bringing with it some bitterly cold and windy conditions this week just in time for the holiday season.

A five-day forecast issued by Accuweather, the world's leading weather authority, details Christmas Eve conditions as cloudy and windy with a couple of showers. Temperatures will be at a low of 37 degrees but a "real feel" of 23 degrees.

Residents wishing to gaze into the night sky in hopes of capturing a glimpse of Santa's sleigh and eight tiny reindeer amongst a light snowfall will likely be disappointed this year as having a white Christmas is definitely doubtful. Christmas Day will see temperatures hitting approximately 42 degrees with mostly cloudy skies. Rain will fall throughout the evening hours, causing a decrease in temperature to 33 degrees.

Temperatures are typical for Fulton County, according to Accuweather reports, whose local historical records show a normal high of 40°F in December, normal low of 25 degrees and an average of 32 degrees.

The National Weather Service confirms reports there is little chance of the white stuff Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or the remainder of the work week. Since rain and strong winds seem to be plaguing the area, causing frequent school delays and icy patches of roadway, officials working from the Mc- Connellsburg maintenance shed of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation remain busy monitoring both the local weather conditions and 736 snow lane miles.

Fulton County, which falls under PennDOT District 9, receives a winter service allotment of $447,000 from the state as well as a salt capacity of 4,500 tons and 11,000 tons of anti-skid. The county's complement of 21 trucks, six loaders and lone antiicing unit also has 22,500 gallons of anti-ice at its disposal.

Historically, more salt was used in county in 2007-08 than in the last 10 years. A total of 4,963 tons of salt were used last winter. The second highest amount of salt usage occurred in 1998-99 with 4,821 tons. In comparison, PennDOT officials elaborated anti-skid was a hot commodity in 1998-99 and 2002-03 with 11,972 and 10,611 respective tons spread locally.

In conjunction with their services guide, PennDOT also reminds residents to turn on their headlights during bouts of inclement weather and utilize flashers when coming upon an accident or encountering others travelling at slow speeds.

"Be patient. Adjust your speed according to the road conditions. Remember, stopping distance is much greater on ice," stated PennDOT. "Follow snow removal equipment from a safe distance. During anti-icing operations, the spray can smear windshields - stay back at least 100 feet. Do not pass snowplows and remain at least six car lengths behind them."

Additional tips include avoid sudden, hard breaking; do not abandon your vehicle; give yourself extra time for travel; and most importantly, wear your seat belt.

For the most up-to-date weather conditions please visit PennDOT on the Internet at www.dot.state.pa.us and click on Traveler Information. Interstate roadway conditions can be obtained on state highways by calling PennDOT at 1-888-783-6783.

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