With the arrival of colder weather, snowstorms pose a significant danger to drivers in Pa.
HARRISBURG – Five years ago this January, a blinding blast of snow tore through York County, causing a fatal accident on I-83.
The year before, in 2016, there was another major crash of more than 50 vehicles on I-78 in Lebanon County.
While they don’t typically come with the big plow-breaking Nor’easters, blizzards are just as dangerous or even worse.
Snowstorms are like thunderstorm lines. Snow falls hard and fast creating a quick and slippery accumulation on roads and bridges.
It falls so fast that it cannot melt on treated roads and instead turns to ice. Visibility is also quickly reduced to blindingly dazzling conditions when wind gusts blow. It may be impossible to see the icy conditions in front of and around you.
Days with strong winds and large changes in temperature are the best days for snowstorms. Even today (Monday, Nov 15) we had several areas of snow north of the viewing area that could have been problematic for drivers.
The National Weather Service is doing its best to spread the word about the storms at its “Snowstorm Awareness Week.”
Jonathan Guseman, National Weather Service Advisory Coordinator Meteorologist at State College says, “If you’re driving on an interstate when a blizzard warning is issued, the best thing to do is pull off the road at the next available opportunity.”
“If you get caught driving in a snowstorm, avoid hard braking, turn on your headlights and hazard warning lights, stay in your lane, and increase your following distance. There is no safe place on a highway during a snowstorm.”
A blizzard warning will be sent to your phone automatically if you are in the path of a storm through the emergency weather alert system, similar to a tornado warning or flash flood warning.
You can also get this warning with the free abc27 weather app. Remember not to come to a complete stop on a highway if you are caught in a snowstorm. Keep moving slowly at a distance from other traffic.