Winter Weather Ices Roads
A winter weather advisory issued Monday rang true when motorists took to the roadways for their morning commute only to be greeted by reduced visibility and icy patches.
The advisory for central Pennsylvania from the National Weather Service predicted snow would change to freezing rain, with the wintry mix of precipitation being the heaviest during the morning drive. Little to no accumulation of snow was forecasted for the southern tier of the state, but up to a tenth of an inch of ice was to accumulate.
Fulton County Emergency Management Agency Director Ruth Strait said the National Weather Service issues a variety of statements during periods of inclement weather ranging from outlooks and watches to warnings and advisories. An advisory is issued when weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. A warning is issued when severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within the next 24 hours.
Citizens can register for the most up-to-date and timely weather reports by logging onto alert.pa.gov. Information can be electronically delivered to e-mail accounts, cellphones, pagers and smart phones. In addition to weather alerts, the AlertPA service also provides recipients with health and tax notifications and even building alerts.
According to Strait, by early afternoon Monday, local officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation were re- porting that all state roadways were in “good shape and passable.” Strait said a warm-up during the overnight hours would make the possibility of a refreeze slim.
Only a few accidents were reported across the county, however, a tragic collision just across the county line in neighboring Dublin Township, Huntingdon County, took the lives of two young women from northern Fulton County (see related front-page story).
Local school administrators also heeded the words of the National Weather Service. In a joint decision, superintendents from Forbes Road, Central Fulton, Southern Fulton and neighboring Southern Huntingdon closed their school districts for the day as a sufficient window of time was not available to safely transport students that morning.
The main library and Hustontown branch of the Fulton County Library also followed suit, opening their facilities at 11 a.m. when most of the danger had subsided on main roadways.
“The best rule of thumb is that if you don’t have to be on the roads, stay off them. It not only would be in your best interest, but it also helps road crews in their road maintenance efforts,” Strait told the “News.”