Mother Nature drops more than six inches in region

A small snow squall yesterday afternoon didn’t leave up through the evening as more than a half a foot of snow fell on Northern Blair County.
The storm was highlighted by fierce winds and frigid temperatures.
Despite the treacherous conditions, local road crews got a jump start early and tamed Mother Nature’s wrath to allow safe travel this morning.
“We’re expecting the sun to come out today and really get all the salt working,” said Vernon Latchford, Tyrone Borough’s Highway Department Foreman.
Latchford said his crews started after the snow began accumulating on the roads at about 5 p.m. yesterday. He said they were also out early this morning, clearing roads and applying salt.
“The roads are all passable,” said Latchford.
Other municipalities reported passable road conditions also.
Jeff Ziegler, Antis Township manager, told The Daily Herald that he hadn’t spoken with road foreman Bob Srock, but noted that all the roads were open.
“They may be snowpacked, but they are all open,” said Ziegler.
Like in Tyrone, Antis Township crews were out yesterday clearing roadways and they were back in at 5 a.m. this morning in their plows.
“To my knowledge, everything looks good,” said Ziegler. “No one has reported any problems anywhere.”
Susan Waite, secretary/treasurer of Bellwood Borough, also reported good road conditions. She spoke with borough road crews this morning who told her everything was plowed, although snow was still present.
In Snyder Township, secretary Viola Dysart heard from road crews at around 8:30 a.m. They told her that all the roads were cleared and they were preparing to treat the roadways with salt and calcium.
Only one school cancellation was noted in the region with Keystone Central. Bellwood-Antis and Tyrone Area school districts each had two-hour delays.
Temperatures weren’t expected to rise out of the single digits Thursday across much of the Northeast, where Watertown, N.Y., dropped to 31 below zero and the morning wind chill was minus-46 degrees.
Maine Gov. John Baldacci declared a civil emergency after wind chills of 30 to 50 degrees below zero a day earlier.
The heaviest snow of the storm fell in Minnesota to Michigan, where strong winds produced blizzard-like conditions in parts of the Great Lakes and Upper-Midwest.
Ten inches of snow fell in Detroit’s far northern suburbs on Wednesday. Lesser amounts still posed problems, causing dozens of fender-benders and spinout accidents on Detroit-area freeways. Portions of Michigan were already under as much as 10 inches of snow when the storm rolled in.
“I’m brushing as much snow out of my eyes as I am off my car,” said Layla Abdul-Rahman, 32, of Dearborn. “This would be a good time to buy a ticket back to Lebanon.”
U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri, a candidate in Michigan’s Feb. 7 Democratic presidential caucuses, was scheduled to hold a town hall meeting in Burton Wednesday. But the storm prevented his plane from landing at Bishop International Airport in nearby Flint. After circling Bishop for 45 minutes, his plane headed for Grand Rapids, where he attended a 6 p.m. rally.
In New Jersey, dozens of spinouts and fender-benders were reported early Thursday as motorists slowly made their way across snow-covered roads and icy bridges. The snow was expected to taper off during the morning commute, but blowing and drifting snow was possible for most of the day.
“It’s the light fluffy kind of snow (and) should be easy for people to move around,” said Mark DeLisi, a forecaster with the weather service’s Mount Holly, N.J., office.
The bitter cold was expected to continue into the weekend in much of the Northwest. Public Service Electric & Gas, New Jersey’s largest utility, said service calls had more than doubled.
In Maine, the governor said his civil emergency proclamation should help fuel oil delivery drivers operate additional hours.
About 5 inches of snow had been measured in New York City by 7 a.m., and most of the suburbs were hit with between 5 and 6 inches, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Adrienne Leptich. The coldest temperatures were expected after the snow stops, with winds picking up so much that the wind chill Thursday night was expected to be about 20 degrees below zero.
Anyone outside unprotected in the low temperatures will “realize it in about five minutes,” Leptich said. “Their faces will start getting numb.”
Leptich said frigid Arctic air was driving the temperatures downward, and said similar cold snaps were felt last winter as well.
“It’s January, and this is the time of year when we see this,” she said.