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Snow in forecast for Fay-West region

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 12:46 a.m.

It isn't even Halloween, and the forecast is calling for snow as early as Wednesday night.

But Connellsville and other low-lying areas in the Fay-West region should make it through with, at most, just a few flurries.

John Darnley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh, said the area at the bottom of the mountain shouldn't see much snow, but those along the ridges and in the higher elevations of the Laurel Highlands, like Donegal and Somerset, could get a dusting.

“It's coming in from a weak lake-effect, northwest flow, but it's going to be short-lived,” he said, adding that a westerly flow will move in and push it out of the area.

Darnley added that it's not unusual for this area to get snow in October.

On Oct. 30, 2005, Connellsville recorded 2 inches of snow. The highest amount of snowfall early in the winter season for the area in recent years was 4 inches that fell on Nov. 12, 1988.

“Every year is different,” Darnley said. “You can't predict what's going to happen this year based on last year or the year before.”

He added that they usually get the winter outlook for the year from the Climate Prediction Center by Nov. 16 to determine what kind of winter it's going to be, but because of the government shutdown, that will be delayed for a few weeks.

Regardless of whether the region gets a dusting or dumping, Valerie Petersen with PennDOT District 12 said crews are ready to go.

“As soon as one winter season ends, our guys start preparing for the next season, determining how much anti-skid and salt they're going to need and getting the equipment serviced,” she said.

In the early fall, the drivers start driving their routes so they know by landmarks or sights where the different roads are.

“Sometimes when it snows hard, it can be difficult to see the roads, so they make sure they know their area well,” Petersen said.

She added that this is the most exciting time of the year for the road crews.

“They're prepared and ready to rock and roll,” Petersen said. “They like to get out and clear the roads, to keep people safe. They're prepared and anxious to get going.”

Rachel Basinger is a contributing writer.

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