Sunday, July 13, 2014

NEPA gets but a taste of a big springtime snowstorm

March 25. 2013 11:46PM

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Five days into spring, Northeastern Pennsylvania got only a taste of the winter blast much of the East Coast endured on Monday.

A wide-ranging storm that buried parts of the Midwest weakened as it moved east but still managed to carpet lawns and fields in a fresh layer of white. Many schools opened late or closed early, and hundreds of flights were canceled across the East, but much of what snow fell in the Wyoming Valley disappeared by late morning.

The Hazleton area’s blanket of white had a bit more staying power, with a heavy, wet accumulation still present late in the day.

Folks in other areas weren’t as lucky, and the cold temperatures and miserable mixture of snow and rain had them longing for more agreeable weather.

“I’m ready for flip flops,” said Jessica Cunitz, 24, of Westchester County, N.Y., who stopped at a gas station along Interstate 78 in Pennsylvania to fill her overheating car with antifreeze.

In Maryland, Michael Pugh donned a wool coat, knit cap, waterproof pants and heavy boots to trudge more than a mile through 4 inches of wet snow to his bank in downtown Hagerstown, about 70 miles west of Baltimore. He pronounced the weather “dreadful.”

Earlier, the storm walloped the Midwest, dumping a record 17 inches in Springfield, Ill., and a foot or more elsewhere in the state. Travel remained treacherous Monday afternoon, with Interstate 55 and 57 still covered in snow and ice, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Numerous vehicles were reported to be off roads, according to Illinois state police.

The system was little more than a nuisance by the time it reached the East Coast. Air travel saw the biggest impact, with nearly 600 flights canceled as of Monday afternoon, according to the FlightAware tracking service. Hardest-hit airports included those in New York, Philadelphia and Washington.

Roadways, meanwhile, were mostly wet.

Mitchell Gaines, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, N.J., said colder-than-normal temperatures the past few weeks had created conditions ripe for snow.

“It’s fairly late in March to see a system like this,” he said.

While today should be mostly cloudy with a high of 43 locally, the Wilkes-Barre area could see one more winter flare-up this month. forecasts a 56-percent chance of a snow shower early in the day Wednesday. But the sun should chase away the winter blues as a high temperature of 43 is expected. And a warmer weekend is in the works, with highs in the upper 40s and low 50s forercast for Friday through Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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