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Icy roads make commute dicey

Published December 07. 2012 05:04PM

The National Weather Service apparently didn't see it coming. Neither did PennDOT.

What sucker-punched them was a paralyzing blanket of freezing rain that entered most of the region after 6:30 a.m.

Shortly after, there were traffic accidents everywhere. Roads, including major highways, were shut down. PennDOT raced to get its equipment to the trouble spots.

The Panther Valley School District had a one-hour delay for elementary students. High school students in the Panther Valley district already were picked up by bus and in some cases, the buses reportedly had to wait at the top of hills for road maintenance crews.

The Carbon County Head Start program had a two-hour delay.

For the motorists who traveled on the roadways this morning, it was one scary tale after another. Those traveling Route 209 through Jim Thorpe found the Mansion House Hill closed for more than an hour. There was at least one accident on the hill.

Numerous accidents were reported on Route 248. Even a police cruiser reportedly was rear-ended.

A multivehicle accident happened on the Pennsylvania Turnpike south of the tunnels.

The weather people on television last night had said the icy conditions were expected very early this morning in the State College area, but expected the precipitation to turn to rain by the time it migrated to Carbon County.

It wasn't until early this morning that the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for Carbon County, having it in effect from 7-11 a.m.

By 6:45 a.m., Bugzy's Hill in Summit Hill was already becoming ice covered and motorists found themselves slipping a bit. Within 15 minutes, accidents began happening on Route 54, near Weatherly, Route 443, and numerous other locations.

Prior to this, there were at least six crashes reported on Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County.

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