When the rain started Wednesday morning, the air temperature was just above freezing.
Roads, however, were still cold enough to freeze the rain.
As a result of the freezing rain, there were crashes, including several roll-overs, at nine different Warren County locations reported in the space of an hour and a half.
After a quick freezing rain event Wednesday morning, police and fire units shut down a stretch of Route 6 near the exit for Route 62 South. At top, a line of vehicles, led by a tractor-trailer, begins to move at about 11:15 a.m.
Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry
Tim Koebley of Koebley Towing hooks up one of several vehicles involved in crashes. The damaged ambulance in the background was driven from the scene.
"It hit us fast with no warning," Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Ryan Nuhfer said.
The first reported crash was a log truck on Route 6 in Pittsfield Township.
One crash led to several more at Forge curve on Route 6 in Irvine.
Other crashes were reported on Mohawk Avenue at Farm Lane, two in a three-mile stretch of Route 6 in Mead Township and two more farther southeast on Route 666 at Cherry Run and Route 948, and two in Pleasant Township, one on Route 62 south and the other on Grunderville Road.
Nuhfer had a simple suggestion.
"If you have rain hitting your windshield and it's near freezing, slow it down," he said. "If everybody would slow down 10 to 15 miles an hour, we'd avoid a lot of accidents."
At the Forge curve crash, police said there were a total of four crashes.
An SUV lost control on the icy road and went head-first into the median barrier. As vehicles that came up to the crash tried to stop only some were successful. According to police, a side-swipe followed, then an Emergycare ambulance ran into the back of a vehicle. Farther back the line of traffic a tractor-trailer managed to stop but the car behind it didn't until after rear-ending the truck.
Police reported that there was one injury of unknown severity as a result of the crashes at that location.
State police blocked the westbound lanes at the exit for Route 62 South. Units from the Youngsville Fire Department blocked the eastbound lanes.
The road was so slippery walking was difficult and some of the emergency responders fell in the course of performing their duties.
At about 11:15 a.m., the road was open, but hundreds of vehicles were backed up on the westbound lanes.
In the case of freezing rain, "it doesn't matter what kind of car, four-wheel drive, good tires... if you think you're doing a safe speed, slow it down another 10 miles per hour," Nuhfer said.