The weather outside was truly frightful on Christmas Eve as snow squalls turned roads into ice rinks, causing crashes and keeping families from holiday gatherings.

The snow hit hard and fast in Carbon, Monroe and parts of Schuylkill counties, melting on the roads after the recent unseasonal warm weather. The temperatures dropped, and the precipitation quickly froze.

Parishioners who attended early Christmas Eve services came out of church to find their vehicles covered with new snow and their ride home white-knuckle experiences.

Route 309 in Rush Township, known as the Hometown Hill; Route 443 in Lehighton and Route 902 between Summit Hill and Lansford, and Route 209 in Coaldale were all closed for varying amounts of time due to slick surfaces.

Icy roads caused numerous accidents.

Cars were backed up on Kattner's Mountain in Jim Thorpe, and a traffic accident between the Pocono and Mahoning Valley interchanges of the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was believed to have involved as many as eight vehicles. The highway was closed from Clark's Summit to Allentown. State police had not issued a press release containing details of the crash as of early Thursday.

About 3 inches of snow fell in Albrightsville, 3 inches in Summit Hill, 2.3 inches in Weatherly, 1.9 inches in Palmerton and Lansford, and about 1.5 inches in Lake Harmony, according to the National Weather Service. Mahanoy City had less than one-half an inch.

On Thursday morning, more snow hit, icing roads and causing numerous accidents.

The snow caused numerous crashes, and prompted the Turnpike Commission to warn drivers to proceed with caution and keep alert for icy conditions. Local roads, including Delaware Avenue in Palmerton, were icy.

The National Weather Service on Thursday morning expected snow showers before 3 p.m., then a chance of rain showers between 3 p. m. and 4 p.m., with temperatures approaching a high of 37 degrees. The total precipitation was expected to be about an inch.

Tonight's temperatures are expected to bottom out at 17 degrees.

Friday starts a warming trend, according to NWS, with sunny skies and highs around 39 degrees.