So, how much snow are we going to get?
Will we have a big snow event in the Connellsville area by Monday?
“There is still a lot of uncertainty (in the forecast models),” said Mike Kennedy, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Moon. “We're going to be warming up a good bit. The precipitation could begin as early as late (Saturday) morning.”
Kennedy said any precipitation on Saturday evening could be light snow, rain or a mix. If the precipitation on Saturday is snow, it should amount to about an inch with another inch through Sunday evening. The heavy precipitation will start around 7 p.m. Sunday.
“Ah, Fayette County,” Kennedy said. “You're in the sweet spot.”
Kennedy said the worst-case forecast is calling for 11 inches of snow in western Fayette County, with 13 inches to the east in the ridges.
“This is the worst-case scenario,” he added. “The forecast may improve. It has the potential to be a good snowmaker, though.”
He said if the storm takes a different track, it could be all rain. But that possibility is showing up in only one “best case” forecast track.
Kennedy said high temperatures will reach into the 40s in the west, with 40s to upper 30s in the ridges on Saturday.
The lows Saturday night will fall into the upper 20s with the high Sunday reaching to the mid 30s. The lows Monday morning will fall into the mid 20s.
Monday's high temperatures will be in the mid 20s. After the storm leaves the area, temperatures will turn cold again, with the low on Tuesday morning in the single digits. The temperatures will begin to moderate and possibly reach into the low 40s by Friday.
Good on salt
While local street departments anticipate a nightmare with the weather, their salt supplies seem to be good.
Valerie Petersen, community relations coordinator for PennDOT District 12 in Uniontown, said the supply of road salt on hand should be adequate to cover the results of the storm. Only one municipality in District 12, Irwin, had asked to borrow road salt this week.
Vernon Ohler, Connellsville street department foreman, said the city has an adequate supply of road salt, having received two loads from its supplier on Thursday.
Ohler said this will probably be a storm that requires more plowing, however. He warned residents about potential problems on narrow streets.
“Don't park on the narrow streets in town, like East Patterson, Chestnut and others,” said Ohler, adding there will be more danger from other sources than from city plows. “Tell you the truth. I don't know how (they would be able) to get a fire truck down those streets in an emergency.
“I know a lot of people get their checks around the beginning of the month, but stay off the streets (when the storm hits). Get your errands done ahead of time.”
Petersen echoed those comments.
“You know your own safety (margin) and your own driving skills. But you need to be prepared for the unexpected. You don't know who the other person is,” Petersen said.
Jeff Landy, Mt. Pleasant Borough manager, said the municipality has adequate supplies.
Residents need salt?
For those looking for rock salt or ice melt for their sidewalks and driveways, the pickings will be slim. A manager at the Wal-Mart in Dunbar Township said the store has none and will not get any for the remainder of this winter. A clerk who answered the phone at Spotto Ace Hardware in Connellsville said their situation is the same. They do not have any and are not expecting any soon.
Jay Smith, of Stone & Co.'s hardware store in Connellsville, said that store has a limited supply of ice melt. They've been out of rock salt.
“All we have is calcium in 50-pound bags,” he said, adding the melt is more expensive but more efficient. “There is a possibility we may get rock salt.”
Marshall Heide, a clerk at Cairns Agway Service in Connellsville, said the store has ice melt, but no rock salt.
“The only thing we have is magnesium chloride in pellets and flakes,” said Heide, who added the store expects to have rock salt, which is on order.
Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-626-3538.