2012-01-26 / Entertainment

PA Sees Season’s First Significant Snow

By Ron Todt

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A weekend storm blanketed Pennsylvania in the first significant snow of the season Saturday, causing flight delays and prompting speed limit reductions on some major roads.

The storm dropped as much as 7.5 inches of snow in west-central Pennsylvania’s Cambria County and almost as much in Blair County, while observers reported 7 inches in western Pennsylvania's Beaver County and 6.5 inches in Allegheny County, the National Weather Service said. Also receiving 6 inches were parts of Carbon and Lehigh counties in eastern Pennsylvania, while other areas of eastern and central Pennsylvania reported 4 inches or less.

By late Saturday afternoon, only very light showers were falling in eastern Pennsylvania, forecasters said.

A combination of rain expected late Sunday or Monday and temperatures rising into the 50s were expected to make short work of the accumulation.

Philadelphia International Airport officials said about three dozen departing flights had been cancelled, and while there were no departure delays, arriving flights were under a ground delay averaging one hour, 49 minutes because of snow and ice accumulation. Spokeswoman Victoria Lupica said Saturday afternoon that crews had been working nonstop to keep runways and roadways clear.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reduced the speed limit to 45 mph on Interstates 78 and 81 and on Route 2 in eastern and central Pennsylvania but lifted the restrictions Saturday afternoon.

A jackknifed tractor-trailer on Interstate 78 in Upper Macungie Township just before 3 a.m. blocked lanes on both sides of the highway, closing eastbound lanes for several hours and reducing westbound travel to one lane. In western Pennsylvania, tractor trailer accidents also closed lanes of Interstate 70 and Interstate 279 South. Even as roads were reopened and speed reductions dropped, officials were urging motorists to avoid unnecessary travel and use caution, especially around snowplows.

The storm marked the first significant accumulation for many East Coast residents. A rare October snowstorm knocked out power to nearly 3 million homes and businesses.

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