Crews: ‘We’re ready for storm’
Ready or not, Old Man Winter plans to make an early pit stop at a place near you.
A storm moving up from the south is expected to drop several inches of snow today, followed by sleet and freezing rain.
About 2 to 4 inches of snow is expected, though some areas could be in store for more, according to Tom Kines, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather.
Precipitation was expected to begin during midday hours. Starting as snow and sleet, Kines said it will continue into the evening, “then change into freezing rain, then change over to rain during the overnight hours,” Kines said.
“What’s going to determine the amount is when the changeover to sleet and freezing rain (occurs); the longer it takes, the more snow we’ll get.”
Kines said travel conditions were expected to be poor throughout the day and into the evening hours.
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesman Ron Young said road crews were out pre-treating the roads as early as 2 a.m.
“Real early this morning, our crews were out pre-treating the area with liquid salt brine,” Young said. “We plan to have our full complement of trucks out for the duration of the storm.”
Young said liquid salt brine is a salt water solution sprayed on the road surface. Once the liquid portion evaporates, the salt residue stays on the road surface so when the snow comes down and hits the road surface, it starts to melt and it doesn’t bond to the road surface.
Local hardware stores also figure to see an uptick in sales.
Debby Shea, an employee of Shea’s Hardware Inc. in Palmerton, said the store has plenty of snow shovels, wood pellets, ice melt, rock salt, gloves, boots, even sleds ready for kids.
“We’re ready to go,” Shea said. “We’re excited. Not everybody is, but we are.”
It’s much the same at Marzen Hardware Inc. in Jim Thorpe, where employee Eric Marzen said the store has plenty of shovels, rock salt and other de-icers available.
“We’ve seen some pick up,” Marzen said. “People seem to be getting prepared, getting ready for the season now.”
Plows are ready
Area municipalities appear poised to deal with the storm as well.
Tamaqua Borough Manager Kevin Steigerwalt said the borough will be taking the usual measures, such as checking to see if they have enough salt, anti-skid material, that the trucks are all outfitted with plows and spreaders.
“We’ll be ready for it when it gets here,” Steigerwalt said. “I would say it’s the usual routine. We’re not treating it any different from the usual storm. It just came a little earlier.”
Steigerwalt stressed that residents need to keep the sidewalks clear of snow and ice, and said they have 24 hours after the storm has ended to clear off their sidewalks.
“We ask them to be courteous, be respectful, cooperative, work together,” he said. “Help out your neighbors, the elderly with shoveling, be careful driving, drive for the conditions.”
Lehighton Borough Manager Nicole Beckett said the borough is all set for the storm.
“Our public works department is prepared to spend the time needed to keep the roads clear and safe,” Beckett said. “We have enough materials in stock.”
Above all else, Beckett stressed safety.
“We always recommend staying at home if you can, getting assistance with shoveling if they need it,” she said.
A better Friday
Kines said the storm should move out by Friday morning.
“The trend for tomorrow is drier,” he said. “With any kind of luck, we’ll see a little bit of sun in the afternoon.”
Kines said temperatures Friday should reach the lower 40s.
“One thing to keep in mind for tomorrow night, there will be wet spots,” he said. “The temperatures will be getting down toward freezing, so there might be some slippery spots developing.”
Kines said the weekend is shaping up to be decent, with a fair amount of sunshine on Saturday with highs in the low to mid 40s.
On Sunday a weak front may push through, with some rain or snow showers later in the day. Temperatures should be near 40.
Young offered safe driving tips for motorists planning to be on the roads.
“We always recommend keeping a winter emergency travel kit in your vehicle with whatever items you may need: water, blankets, protein bars, chargers for your phone, any medication you might need for yourself or anyone traveling with you,” he said. “Remove any snow or ice from your hood or windows. Let someone else know where you’re going and when you plan to arrive at your destination. Wear your seat belt. Give yourself extra time, use extra caution, avoid driving too close to our plow trucks or trying to pass our plow trucks.”