Northwest Pa. braces for possible lake-effect snow this week
Heavy snow and strong wind gusts forecasted in northwest Pennsylvania and along the Allegheny ridges in southwestern Pennsylvania have the potential to cause dangerous travel conditions tonight through Wednesday.
Gov. Tom Wolf advised Monday that state agencies are prepared and providing preparation tips for residents and travelers.
“As always, safety is first,” Wolf said. “Residents and travelers to northwest Pennsylvania need to be prepared for hazardous conditions. Heavy lake-effect snow and gusty winds could bring potentially dangerous travel conditions to parts of northwest (Pennsylvania) and along the ridgetops of the western Allegheny mountains. Motorists should monitor conditions closely and be alert for rapidly changing conditions.”
Lake-effect snow is unique in that it has a large supply of moisture from Lake Erie to “feed” it. Accompanying that are often drastic temperature differences between the lake water and the air moving over it, which can lead to powerful bands of snow. Strong, gusty wind can add to the hazards, reducing visibility to near zero and forcing snow to drift over roadways.
“We are in close contact with county emergency management teams to ensure each has what it needs to help locally,” said Rick Flinn, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. “The teams in the northwest are well-versed in winter weather and lake-effect snow and are prepared for this storm to minimize travel delays and maximize safety for all residents and travelers.”
Motorists are advised to avoid traveling during winter storms if possible, but motorists who must be on the road are urged to use caution while driving.
Drivers can monitor weather forecasts and travel information at 511PA.com .
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.