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Morning snowstorm causes headaches

Published February 21. 2011 05:00PM

Last Friday, area residents were rejoicing as a warm front brought 60-plus degree temperatures to the Northeast.

But that warm-up, which helped melt some of the heavy snow pack from snow and ice storms in January, was short lived as Jack Frost blew yet another wintry headache through Pennsylvania early Monday morning.

Temperatures dropped significantly Friday night into Saturday and winds, with gusts up to 50 mph, helped set up today's storm.

At about 10 p.m., Sunday, with temperatures hovering right around freezing, flurries could be seen blowing around the area as the edge of a storm system in the Midwest began to push eastward and spread across the Northeast.

During the early hours today, the storm picked up significantly, dropping a dense snow that caused some travel problems during the morning commute, including a disabled vehicle along Route 248 East near Bowmanstown; a vehicle driving into a telephone pole along Route 443 in Mahoning Township; a car into a snow bank in Kidder Township; and two minor accidents in West Penn and Franklin townships. It also closed the few schools, including Tamaqua Area School District, Our Lady of the Angels Academy, St. John Neumann Regional, and Carbon Career and Technical Institute, that were planning to use Presidents Day to make up a snow day.

By 7 a.m., Summit Hill had four and a half inches of snow; Nesquehoning had just over four inches.

Ronald Yurchak, official weather observer for the National Weather Service in Tamaqua, reported that as of 7:30 a.m., a total of four and a half inches of snow fell in the Tamaqua area. That equates to .52 inches of water content.

Ron Young, district press officer for PennDOT, said "Crews have been out during the duration of this winter event and will continue to be out today into tonight and tomorrow."

He noted that major roadways, such as intersections and expressways are just wet; however other roads, including bridges and overpasses could be icy. Secondary roads in Carbon, Monroe and Schuylkill, could still be snow covered, Young said.

Because of potential snowy conditions, motorists should take precautions when traveling and allow extra time.

Initial weather forecasts called for the storm to begin as snow then change over to sleet and freezing rain before becoming all rain, and later changing back to snow; but according to the most recent winter weather reports from the National Weather Service, the storm was expected to remain mainly snow through the morning hours then taper off by the afternoon. In some areas, like in Schuylkill, a potential for sleet or freezing rain was also possible reports said.

Tonight brings a 60 percent chance for more snow. One to two inches are possible, mainly before 3 a.m.

Tuesday will begin as a cloudy day, according to the National Weather Service, with a gradual clearing later in the morning. Winds will be mild, with temperatures near 30.

Wednesday looks like it will be the only sunny day this week, with temperatures near 36.

By Thursday, another storm may move through the area, but temperatures will hover in the mid-40s, making it a rain event during the day, with a 60 percent chance of freezing rain Thursday night.

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