Pennsylvania Prepared as Winter Storm Set to Impact State Through Wednesday
Harrisburg, PA – With a slow-moving winter storm expected to bring snow, sleet, ice accumulation and rain across the state lasting into Wednesday, Governor Tom Wolf today reminded Pennsylvanians that the
state of emergency declaration (PDF) he signed in January remains in effect to allow for increased assistance with storm-related needs.
"I want all Pennsylvanians to be vigilant in traveling safely as winter weather again makes its way across Pennsylvania for much of this afternoon through early Wednesday," Governor Wolf said. "The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) has been
in contact with state agencies involved in weather-related activities, including PennDOT and local emergency management agencies to make certain we are prepared."
"Pennsylvania is a large state, and storms like these affect regions throughout the commonwealth very differently from one another," said Acting PEMA Director Randy Padfield. "We encourage everyone to stay tuned into their local news for important storm
updates. In the meantime, PEMA is actively monitoring the storm in coordination with other state agencies and our partners in local government to help them meet any unmet needs that may arise."
Much of the state is under a winter weather advisory or warning. Accumulations vary, but many can expect to see 4 to 6 inches through Wednesday; the northernmost counties could get up to 8 inches and southwestern Pennsylvania will see the least amount of
snow at less than 2 inches.
Snow followed by ice, which could accumulate up to one-half inch in higher elevations and one-tenth to one-quarter of an inch across much of the state, is also forecast.
PennDOT and the PA Turnpike are implementing phased restrictions through the storm. Depending on conditions, restrictions may be expanded or reduced.
See a map of planned restrictions (PDF) at
www.penndot.gov. When restrictions are in effect, see
The governor's continuing emergency declaration authorizes state agencies to use all available resources and personnel, as necessary, to cope with the magnitude and severity of the storm's impacts. The time-consuming bid and contract procedures, as well
as other formalities normally prescribed by law, are waived for the duration of the proclamation.
It is important to note that the declaration does not restrict citizens from travel on commonwealth roadways, but motorists should be aware of restrictions that are in place and heed the guidance of local authorities.
To help make decisions regarding winter travel, motorists are encouraged to "Know Before You Go" by checking conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting
www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 860 traffic cameras. Users can also see
plow truck statuses and travel alerts along a specific route using the
"Check My Route" tool.
511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the
A vehicle emergency kit should be prepared or restocked with items such as non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket, cell phone charger and a small snow shovel. Motorists should tailor their kits to any specific needs that
they or their families have such as baby supplies, extra medication and pet supplies.
PEMA works with county emergency management personnel to monitor unmet local needs during inclement weather affecting travel, utilities, and shelter. You are encouraged to monitor state agency
social media accounts for the most up-to-date information on any emergency or weather-related situation affecting the state, in addition to any social media accounts for your local emergency management
Motorists should be aware that all vehicles should be fully clear of ice and snow before winter travel. If snow or ice is dislodged or falls from a moving vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing death or serious bodily injury, the operator
of that vehicle could receive a $200 to $1,000 fine.
When winter weather occurs, PennDOT urges drivers to be extra cautious around operating snow-removal equipment. When encountering a plow truck, drivers should:
In addition to driving safely around plows, motorists are urged to drive according to conditions. If motorists encounter snow or ice-covered roads, they should slow down, increase their following distance and avoid distractions. Last winter in Pennsylvania,
preliminary data shows that there were 440 crashes resulting in 221 injuries on snowy, slushy or ice-covered roadways where aggressive-driving behaviors such as speeding or making careless lane changes were factors.
To report an accident or other emergencies on the PA Turnpike, dial *11 on your mobile phone. If there is an accident, move the car out of travel lane and onto shoulder, if possible, and stay in the vehicle. For more information about PA Turnpike conditions,
follow the conversation by using
www.paturnpike.com/travel/twitter. You may also see advisories by clicking on the travel ticker on
PennDOT has created a Winter Safety media center, including social-media-sized graphics highlighting winter driving preparations and operations at
www.penndot.gov in the "Media Center" under the "About Us" footer.
For more information on safe winter travel, an
emergency kit checklist (PDF) and information on PennDOT's winter operations including a
PennDOT.gov/winter. Additional winter driving and other highway safety information is available at
Follow the conversation by using #PAWinter on Twitter at
www.twitter.com/PennDOTNews and visit the department on Facebook at
www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaDepartmentofTransportation to view a winter emergency kit video.
"With safety our priority, I remind everyone to please heed warnings from emergency responders and personnel, and remember to check on your neighbors, especially the elderly," Gov. Wolf said. "Let's all do our part to be prepared and safe during this stretch
of winter weather."
MEDIA CONTACTS: J.J. Abbott, 717-783-1116
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