Is it spring yet?
That seems to be the question on most everyone's mind.
Unfortunately, winter just doesn't seem to want to leave or at least let up for a little.
This week has been particularly active in weather patterns, with winter storm Maximus, which dropped approximately eight inches over the region as it moved its way east on Monday. Now the area is bracing for Nika, which sounds like a beautiful, exotic woman, but really her pretty exterior masks her cold, icy interior.
Nika is expected to arrive this evening in the form of heavy snow bands, mixed with sleet and freezing rain and hang around until sometime Wednesday afternoon. Snow totals are expected to be anywhere from 6 to 12 inches, with significant icing sandwiched in the middle.
According to the National Weather Service, who issued a winter storm warning for the area, the time frame for the storm is estimated to be from 10 p.m. tonight to 4 p.m. Wednesday.
With the forecast looking ominous, many area professionals are urging everyone to be prepared.
That means having enough non-perishable food and water for everyone in your family for 72 hours, as well as activities, flashlights, battery-operated radios and batteries, medications, warm clothing, blankets and other essentials for people and pets in case the power goes out, which may be a very real possibility in this storm.
Mark Nalesnik, Carbon County Emergency Management Agency coordinator, said that any storm that calls for freezing rain and sleet has the potential to create a number of headaches, including major, widespread power outages.
"When there is a power outage, the best thing to do is keep yourself and your family safe inside your home," he said. "Crews have to be out there working on the lines so the less people out on the roadways, which then create hazards for crews, the quicker power can get restored."
Nalesnik added that Carbon County, as well as many of the neighboring counties, have a text and email notification system that residents can sign up for at no cost.
"It's the perfect time to use the Ready Notify Carbon system," he said, "because we can still get messages out to the residents of the county in the event of power outages."
In the case of an emergency, stay calm and call for help.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation urges motorists to not travel during winter storms, but if that is not an option, to allow plenty of space between vehicles, travel at slower speeds and prepare for delays. Also have an emergency kit in your car in case you get stuck for an extended period of time.
PennDOT crews will be out during the duration of the storm, said Ronald J. Young, district press officer for PennDOT District 5.
He noted that the trucks and equipment are ready and workers will be working 12-hour shifts once the storm arrives.
Longer school days
The winter storm will most likely result in yet another snow day for students.
With the day off on Monday, this means students will need to go later in the year to make up for all the time missed this winter.
Most schools already were making up at least six days that were missed since Jack Frost came to town in December.
Now, summer vacation is taking the hit.
A look at Maximus
Monday's storm wrought havoc on the area as it trekked through, especially during the early morning commute.
Many found slick road conditions and a number of accidents or vehicles getting stuck were reported throughout the day, including two tractor trailers blocking roadways and causing road closures.
One complaint was that the roads were not cleared quickly.
Young explained that PennDOT crews were out during the storm, noting that crews focus on major state roads and expressways before shifting focus to secondary roads. In some instances on rural roads, it may take crews about three hours or longer to make a pass.
He added that all roads were treated and will continue through all storms.
Looking at the
The Northeast may not be out of the woods just yet.
According to the Weather Channel, there is the possibility for yet another storm this weekend.
Models are changing and at this point, are unreliable in determining if the storm will impact the area or if it will miss us completely.
Jon Erdman of the Weather Channel wrote Monday, "As a general rule of thumb, be wary of any specific forecast graphic or article with explicit snow/ice totals beyond two or three days from any website including social media sites like Facebook, Google+ or Twitter or TV broadcasts."
He explained that these early models are littered with misinformation because the storm is still forming and a track cannot be determined because of a number of factors that have not yet set up.
Different models are currently showing varying forecasts, which pending on the cold air levels over the area, could mean a major snow event, minor snow event or even just a rain event this weekend.
The only thing that is for certain is most people are telling winter to take this snow and "shovel" it.