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Major storm to stay south

Published February 05. 2010 05:00PM

Snow haters may be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Once again a major coastal storm will be sparing the local area - according to forecasts - and unleashing its wrath on Delaware and South Jersey.

It's the third time this year that storms from the south were held at bay by cold fronts affecting this region.

The forecasts this morning from the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, N.J. call for up to four inches in Carbon County - with some areas to the north only getting an inch or two.

Areas of Schuylkill and Lehigh counties will receive possibly up to six or seven inches, depending how far south the municipality is located.

As late as noon yesterday, some forecasters were still calling for heavy snow in the area.

The Mauch Chunk Opera House, in anticipation of the storm, cancelled a concert scheduled for Saturday night by Steve Brosky and the Big Lil Band.

Several schools pushed up the starting time for sporting events this evening.

The bull's-eye for the storm appears affixed to the Baltimore-Washington area, where up to two feet of snow is possible.

Along the coastal areas of South Jersey and northern Delaware, the heavy snow could be combined with winds more than 50 mph. A blizzard warning was issued for those areas.

This morning, the Weather Service had only a "hazardous weather outlook" for Carbon County, while a more serious "winter weather advisory" was in effect for Schuylkill County. A "winter storm warning," meaning "significant amounts of snow are expected," was issued for Lehigh and Northampton counties.

PennDOT urged motorists to avoid traveling Friday night through Saturday evening and urged those who must venture out to pack an emergency survival kit.

Even a few inches of snow can produce difficult driving conditions.

"Travel during the storm will be extremely risky and motorists really need to ask themselves if their trip is an absolute necessity or if it can be avoided until after the storm has passed," said PennDOT Deputy Secretary for Highway Administration Scott Christie, P.E.

Christie said motorists who must travel should be sure that a relative or friend knows what time they will travel, the route they'll be using and their destination.

"When winter precipitation is occurring, especially heavy precipitation, motorists must slow down, travel with extreme caution and remember that roadways will not be bare until several hours or more after the precipitation stops," Christie said. "Safety is always our utmost concern, but we also need drivers to use common sense and be realistic about the conditions they will encounter."

According to Christie, interstates and other high-volume expressways are treated first during winter storms.

Secondary state routes are a lower priority and during severe winter storms, deeper accumulations will occur on these roadways.

The department's primary goal is to keep roads passable, not completely free of ice and snow. explained Christie.

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