Last updated: February 19. 2013 11:43PM - 409 Views

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The season's first significant snowstorm that quickly covered roads Wednesday afternoon came just in time for one of the largest ski resorts in Northeastern Pennsylvania.


Sno Mountain in Scranton is scheduled to open its trails to skiers and snowboarders on Friday.


For police and many on the road, the storm was not welcome. It did not take long for emergency crews to be dispatched to multiple vehicle crashes in the area.


Before 3 p.m. Wednesday, wrecks were reported on: New Commerce Boulevard and Hanover Street in the Hanover Industrial Park, Hanover Township; White Haven Road in Bear Creek Township; Market Street Bridge in Wilkes-Barre; southbound Interstate 81 in Pittston Township; eastbound Interstate 80 near White Haven; and the southbound Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike near the Pocono Interchange.


But for ski resorts, the timing during Christmas week was ideal.


We've been making snow for our opening on Friday, said Nancy Kaminski, director of sales and marketing at Sno Mountain. As far as what trails will be open, we'll know better (today), but I can say we're looking forward to the snow.


The National Weather Service in Binghamton, N.Y., is forecasting 6 to 10 inches of snow by the time the storm moves out of the area this afternoon. The storm is part of a winter system that produced tornadoes along the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday.


Mixed with the snow will be gusty winds and sleet.


A winter storm warning is in effect until 1 p.m. today.


Snow began falling in the Hazleton area around 1 p.m. and Wilkes-Barre about an hour later.


Snowfall rates reached 2 inches per hour by 5 p.m., according to NWS.


Due to the inclement weather, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reduced the speed limit to 45 mph on most interstates, including Interstates 81 and 80, until further notice.


Newport Township police closed Old Newport Street near Robert Street due to a crash on Wednesday.


Low visibility caused multiple departure delays at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport on Wednesday afternoon.


By the time the storm moves away, the area will likely be near normal for snowfall this time of year.


Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton said the recent furloughs of four employees from the Department of Public Works will not have an impact on snow removal.


He said roads will be maintained and cleared.


State employees were permitted to go home early Wednesday except for those who work in public safety.


Snow emergency parking bans have been issued in the following municipalities: Conyngham Borough, Exeter Borough, West Pittston.


Another snow storm is in the forecast this weekend.

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