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Storm could be winter's worst

Published February 01. 2011 05:00PM

Weather-wise things have been bad this winter. But the worst may be happening now.

And, if you think the weather today is bad, just wait until tomorrow.

The chain of storms has been a headache for commuters navigating in the treacherous conditions, school superintendents who must schedule make-up days, athletic directors who must get sporting events played before specific dates, and municipal officials whose snow-removal budgets are being drained.

There is one positive with the storm. It means Punxsutawney Phil probably won't see his shadow tomorrow and we could get an early spring, according to Pennsylvania Dutch lore.

Until now, the storms basically were nuisance systems dropping a few inches of snow every few days.

The storm currently affecting us could bring not only the deepest accumulation locally so far this winter, but a potential of some ice accumulation.

The ice problem is forecast for tomorrow.

The precipitation reportedly started falling at about 9 o'clock last night. Except for possibly a brief break this afternoon, the stormy weather is expected to continue until early Wednesday night.

The complex forecast for Carbon County from the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, N.J. is as follows:

Today: Snow before 1 p.m., then snow and sleet between 1 and 4 p.m., then freezing rain and sleet after 4 p.m. The snow could be heavy at times. High near 27. Little or no ice accumulation expected. Total daytime snow and sleet accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.

Tonight: Freezing rain and sleet before 10 p.m., then snow, freezing rain, and sleet likely between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., then freezing rain and sleet after 1 a.m. Low around 23. Little or no ice accumulation expected. New snow and sleet accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Wednesday: Freezing rain and sleet before 4 p.m., then snow likely. High near 31. New ice accumulation of 0.2 to 0.4 of an inch possible. New snow and sleet accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Wednesday Night: Snow likely, mainly before 7 p.m.

Due to the winter storm, PennDOT has temporarily reduced the speed limit on several roadways in East Central Pennsylvania.

PennDOT is urging motorists to avoid unnecessary travel but those who must head out will see speeds reduced to 45 mph on the following limited access highways:

• Interstates 78, 80, 81, and 380;

• US 22

• PA 33

Although PennDOT recommends not traveling during winter storms, motorists can check road conditions on more than 2,900 miles of state roads by calling 511 or visiting 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates and access to more than 500 traffic cameras.

After we get through the present weather system, we might be dealt another blow.

The National Weather Service is watching the formation of a low pressure area off the coast Friday night which has the potential to give us another storm.

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