National Weather Service says 18” of snow possible

If the National Weather Service is right, Old Man Winter is about to strike Pennsylvania.

A winter weather storm warning went into effect Monday night at 8 p.m. to run through 8 a.m. on Wednesday with eight to 12 inches of snow possible with “locally higher amounts… possible on the ridge tops.” “Snow will move into northwest Pennsylvania early this evening and into the Laurels by Midnight,” the NWS warning states. “The heaviest snow will fall late tonight through mid-day Tuesday. Lighter snow will last through Tuesday night and perhaps Wednesday morning as the wind turns to the northwest and the steady snow turns to lake effect snow showers.”

While we’re likely to get our fair share of snow, the warning for Harrisburg indicates that 16 to 20 inches are possible, “mainly on the ridges of the Poconos and the Middle Susquehanna Valley.” In response to that forecast, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a proclamation of disaster emergency and announced that PennDOT and the state Turnpike “will restrict speeds on interstates and some large commercial vehicular travel. Governor Wolf also announced that PennDOT will strategically deploy additional assets to areas expected to be hardest hit by the storm, including the Northeast, Poconos, and Lehigh Valley.

Locally, Warren County Public Safety Director Todd Lake said during Monday’s county commissioners work session that the declaration isn’t likely to mean anything for Warren County.

With the increased likelihood in the eastern part of the state for vast amounts of snow, Lake said that “they’re not prepared (for that volume). That’s going to put that part of the state in disaster. Eleven inches of snow is just a snowfall we get sometimes.”

Lake said that some state equipment will be moved to the more heavily affected areas.

A release from the local PennDOT district office detailed what resources are moving.

A mobile equipment team from Erie County of three trucks and staff as well as a team from Crawford County with two trucks and staff will available to be “mobilized and dispatched quickly to help other PennDOT regions deal with large-scale emergencies.”

“It is essential for PennDOT to be able to quickly and effectively respond when large-scale weather emergencies and natural disasters strike, “ Bill Petit, District I executive said. “District I is prepared to assist.”

According to the statement from PennDOT, local teams are ready to go.

“District I has adequate resources and is prepared for the snowfall expected in northwestern Pennsylvania,” PennDOT said. “Trucks and other equipment are ready. Salt, anti-skid, and other materials are in good supply. Crews will be working around the clock if necessary to keep the roads safe and passable.”