It's the calm before the storm.

To be safe though, many businesses across the Lehigh Valley have shut down operations today. Snow emergencies are already in effect in a number of municipalities in Berks and Northampton counties.

Locally, Carbon County commissioners decided Wednesday that only essential personnel would need to respond to work on Thursday. Court cases scheduled for today will be rescheduled.

All schools are closed today.

As of 5 a.m., a snow had already begun falling in the region, covering roadways.

Meteorologists are holding steady on their forecast for the Northeast as the Nor'easter treks up the coast dropping dangerous amount of ice in the South before turning its sights on the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

According to the National Weather Service, 10 to 14 inches of snow with a trace of ice is possible for the area today and tonight. A chance of freezing rain to mix in during the afternoon hours is also possible for this afternoon.

The morning commute will be impacted and the evening commute will become hazardous as snow accumulates throughout the day.

Officials at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation always remind motorists that if you do not need to be out on the road during the storm, stay inside. This allows plows to do their job safely and more efficiently.

Road conditions

Due to extreme winter road conditions, PennDOT is temporarily reducing the speed limit to 45 MPH on Interstates 78, 80, 81, 176 and 380; U.S. Routes 22, 209, 222 and 422; and State Routes 33 and 309.

PennDOT is also temporarily restricting certain vehicles from Interstate 78 and Interstate 81 in east central Pennsylvania.
                            
The types of vehicles prohibited include: Empty straight trucks; Large Combination Vehicles (tandem trailers and doubles); Tractors hauling empty trailers; Trailers pulled by passenger vehicles; Motorcycles; and Recreational Vehicles, or RVs.
 
The purpose of the ban is to help ensure that the roadways remain open during the most challenging conditions of the storm. When conditions improve, PennDOT will remove the travel restrictions.