HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett today urged the public to pay attention to forecasts, which are calling for snow, sleet, freezing rain or a mix of precipitation across much of the state tonight and Wednesday morning.
“While Pennsylvania’s emergency management and safety organizations are preparing for this latest blast of winter weather, I am encouraging citizens to ensure they’re also prepared at home and on the road,” Corbett said. “Weather is an unpredictable force, so thinking of safety first should be everyone’s priority.”
In areas where forecasts are calling for significant snow and ice conditions, motorists should postpone travel whenever possible. PennDOT crews will treat roadways, but ice and freezing rain decreases the efficiency of road salt and can even wash it from roadways.
“The mixed precipitation that is currently forecast will likely make travel conditions hazardous,” PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said. “While we will work aggressively to keep state roads as safe as possible, freezing rain is very hazardous, and it is difficult to keep roads from becoming icy.”
To help increase safety for those who must travel during the storm, PennDOT may implement temporary 45 mph speed restrictions as needed across the state. If conditions warrant, the department may also restrict commercial vehicles from traveling on certain roadways.
“We expect this storm to significantly impact travel, particularly around rush hour Wednesday morning,” said Glenn Cannon, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. “People should prepare for the possibility of power outages by making sure they have adequate supplies in their homes.”
Cannon said a home emergency kit should allow a household to survive without outside assistance for at least three days and include basic items such as: one gallon of water per person per day; non-perishable food; extra medication; a battery-operated radio and flashlights; first aid kit; and any special needs items such as baby and pet supplies.
Also, those who do choose to travel should ensure that their vehicle has an emergency kit packed. The kit should include warm clothing, blankets, non-perishable food and water, and any needed items such as medications and baby and pet supplies.
People should never call 9-1-1 to request or report road conditions. When calling 9-1-1 to report an emergency, it is critical for callers to stay on the line, even if for an extended series of rings, until the operator answers. Hang-ups due to frustration result in wasted staff time as the 911 center tries to reestablish contact.
Motorists can check conditions on major roadways by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates and access to more than 650 traffic cameras. 511PA is also available by calling 511, and regional Twitter alerts are available on the 511PA website.
The commonwealth’s ReadyPA campaign encourages citizens to take three basic steps before an emergency occurs: Be Informed, Be Prepared, Be Involved. More detailed information, including downloadable emergency kit checklists and emergency plan templates, is available online at www.ReadyPA.org.