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Say it ain't snow!

Published February 12. 2010 05:00PM

Let's not panic, folks.

The National Weather Service says we could get more snow on Monday night and Tuesday.

The NWS isn't sure, yet, how much precipitation we'll get, except it's pretty certain it won't be as much as we got this week.

In fact, the brunt of the storm might be south of us.

There is a big "if," the NWS says. If a southern system interacts with the clipper, it could be an accumulating snow. It's still too far into the future to give a more accurate forecast, so there's the potential we could get very little snow.

Meanwhile, the region continues digging out from the deepest accumulation since the blizzard of '96 when 27 inches piled up at the Lehigh Valley International Airport and 20 inches was measured in Lehighton.

The blizzard of '96 occurred Jan. 8 and like this week's storm, shut down businesses and brought traffic to a halt in many areas.

This week's storm, it should be clarified, was no blizzard. To be classified as a blizzard, there has to be at least three hours of wind totaling 35 mph or more.

Many school districts closed for the third consecutive day today because of the storm, including Tamaqua. Carbon County students already had the day off because of Presidents' Weekend.

Mark Nalesnik, Carbon County's Emergency Management Coordinator, said an official emergency declaration was filed by the Carbon County Commissioners.

In addition, 12 municipalities made emergency declarations with his office.

Boroughs which made the declaration include Jim Thorpe, Lansford, Nesquehoning, Parryville, Summit Hill, Weatherly and Palmerton.

Townships which filed the declarations with Nalesnik are Banks, East Penn, Mahoning, Towamensing and Franklin.

Penn Forest Township has declared a local state of emergency, but hasn't filed a declaration with Nalesnik.

No type of declaration was made in Lehighton.

Nalesnik said one reason to file an official declaration with his office is that if the state issues a state of emergency for the area and makes any type of reimbursement funding available, these particular municipalities would immediately qualify. In addition, municipalities which file declarations can bypass the bidding process when they hire contractors for storm-related cleanup such as snow removal.

In Lehighton, garbage collection scheduled for today was postponed until tomorrow. Strohl Sanitation, which handles collections in Mahoning Township, did all its scheduled pickups despite the storm.

In Summit Hill, the borough was doing the rare task of removing snow. Generally snow is plowed but because 25.5 inches fell, the accumulation has resulted in the borough utilizing dump trucks to haul it away.

"They're doing everything they can to remove the snow," said Kira Michalik, borough secretary.

She said that yesterday the emphasis was on cleaning the streets.

"Now they're taking it one street at a time to remove snow," she said, adding that priority is being given to the emergency routes, but other streets also are on the list.

Nicole Tessitore, borough secretary in Lansford, said snow removal will continue throughout the weekend.

She said today snow removal will occur in the 200 and 300 block of East Ridge Street.

Tomorrow the snow removal will be in the 200, 300, and 400 block of East Abbott and the 200 and 300 block of East Bertsch streets.

On Sunday, snow removal is slated for the 200 and 300 block of West Ridge and the 200 and 300 block of West Abbott.

Parking is prohibited on the streets where snow removal is occurring, beginning at 7 a.m. that morning, said Tessitore. The blocks included in snow removal will be posted.

She praised the borough workers and contractors for their efforts in making the town passable.

"They've really been working hard on very little sleep," she said.

She said this snowstorm has been hard on the borough's budget but she's hoping the governor will make funding available through PEMA to provide to the community.

"They made funding available after the Valentine's Day storm," she said, referring to 2007.

That storm was especially tough on the interstates, with major traffic jams occurring that stranded motorists for as long as 14 hours.

For this snowstorm, the state government closed several of the interstates to prevent such a reoccurrence.

Wikipedia has a long narrative of the 2007 storm.

One portion reads: "Carbon County, The Mansion Hill (SR 209) exiting Jim Thorpe toward Lehighton was closed for most of the 14th due to snow slides blocking the major artery or tractor-trailer trucks becoming stuck and blocking the travel lanes. The road reopened about 2:30 p.m. on the 14th, however it was shut down again at 3:06 p.m. due to an accident. This was a main trouble spot as the snow and sleet reportedly drifted on the hill across part of the highway.

"Drifts were reported to be higher than some vehicles. At 8:20 a. m. on the 14th, it was decided that drifting was occurring more frequently than road crews could clear, resulting in the heavily traveled road being closed. All schools in the county canceled classes as early as the evening of the 13th.

"Lansford continued their state of emergency on the 15th, which was issued on the 14th. This means that all non-essential travel should be avoided. One accident occurred when a tractor-trailer jackknifed on the Mansion House Hill, Route 209, in Jim Thorpe at about 4 a.m. on the 14th. The Pennsylvania Turnpike's Lehighton interchange was closed because of a tractor-trailer crash on the 14th, and state police closed Interstate 81 late in the afternoon of the 14th, deeming it impassable. Interstate 380 also was closed because of bad road conditions."

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