Storm whips up flurry of activity
It's not exactly what the Mayan had in mind for Dec. 21, but for Armstrong County residents the first serious snowfall was a sure sign of an apocalypse of sorts : The end of the world as we've known it for about the last nine months.
Friday was the first day of winter on any calendar — bringing snow showers, blowing snow, gusty wind and cold temperatures just as predicted.
The only thing that can save us now is to get out the snow shovels, scrapers and salt, the mufflers and mittens, stock up the food pantry and put on the winter tires if you haven't already.
The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh has a snowy forecast for the area.
According to their predictions, the chance for precipitation is 100 percent for Friday.
Total daytime snow accumulation had the possibility of one to two inches.
Last night we were expected to see blowing snow and a low of about 26 degrees with more new snow falling in the evening. Snow was to increase in intensity throughout the day and evening Friday.
On Saturday more snow showers were likely, mainly before 1 p.m. New snow accumulation of less than a half an inch was possible.
Two to 5 inches of snow total is predicted for the county over the two-day period.
A winter weather advisory remains in effect until 7 p.m. Saturday.
A winter advisory for snow and blowing snow means that traveling will be inhibited due to slippery roads and reduced visibility.
PennDOT Armstrong County Maintenance Manager Andy Firment had road crews ready for an overnight snowy weather forecast that didn't happen.
Crews are prepared whenever the snow gets here, he said Friday afternoon as it started to fall.
“Everybody knows their assigned routes, the diversion plans, the main roads first and work to get the secondaries,” Firment said. “They're saying now we're getting a few inches, heavy blowing snow and temperatures dropping.”
“We'll keep an eye out for bridge decks that ice up quickly and utilize our regular materials of rock salt with antiskid mix.”
Firment said that with the past few light winters, motorists are not as used to driving in the snow and ice.
“Pay attention, look for icy spots and allow more time to get there,” he said. “Be careful.”
The sales and service department at Flynn's Tire on Butler Road in West Kittanning kept hearing the same thing over and over all morning on Friday.
“I need them — NOW!”
“We always get a big run on tires with the first snow,” said Flynn's Tire sales representative Brett Schrecengost.
Schrecengost said they had put on 32 sets of tires by noon on Friday. Some want snow tires, some want gripping all-season, some want studded tires, he said.
“We handle that many by being efficient,” he said. “Fast but careful. Get it done. We're running around with our heads cut off.”
Mitch Fryer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.