WILKES-BARRE — While the rest of the Wyoming Valley scooped up and plowed through Wednesday’s snow, Todd and Amie Sattof sat cozily in their pickup truck watching their kids climb up the Susquehanna River levee bearing sleds with their friends.
A winter storm sacked most of northeastern states starting late Tuesday night, piling inches of snow on the region after hitting midwestern states Monday and Tuesday. The storm shuttered school districts, slowed speed limits and kept the plow trucks rolling hours on end. Nationwide, thousands of flights were canceled and hundreds of thousands were left without power.
Todd Satoff said he’s ready for summer. He works in construction and the regular snowfall has slowed his productivity.
“I’m ready for it to be over,” Satoff said.
His kids obviously thought differently as they were laughing and whizzing snowballs at the foot of the levee.
“We’re down here all the time,” Satoff said, explaining his children are sledding fanatics. “Even if there’s like an inch, there’s enough down there. You just have to look and see if it’s covered.”
WNEP-TV meteorologist Tom Clark said the storm was predicted very accurately. The timing of the storm, as well as when the snow turned over to freezing rain and sleet, “came together quite nicely,” he said.
Wilkes-Barre received about 7 inches of snow from the storm. Clark said areas in and around the city may have seen a little more or less, depending on the location. Clark has not heard of any records being set, but said it would go down “as one of, if not the heaviest snowfalls of the winter.”
Chrissy Trescavage, 30, and her husband Mike, 31, of Moosic, spent the afternoon shoveling. Along with her stepfather, Chrissy Trescavage said the trio started at about 10 a.m. and stopped for lunch. At 1:30 p.m., the three were still working to clear the sidewalks.
“It wasn’t terrible,” she said.
Trescavage is the head coach for the women’s lacrosse team at Misericordia University, which was closed for the day. She did not have to report in for work. She said a 6 a.m. practice had to be canceled because of the weather. With her team’s first game quickly approaching on Feb. 27 at Rosemont, Trescavage said the team has not had many chances to practice outside.
“Being a spring outdoor lacrosse coach, weather really affects us,” she said. “Any cold, any snow, we don’t really like. It’s bothersome.”
Despite the storm, she said the team would have an optional practice later in the day — indoors.
Here’s how the storm affected the region:
• Traffic: The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation issued speed restrictions on most highways across the state during the overnight and early-morning hours. Locally, that included interstates 80, 81 and 84. PennDOT lifted the restrictions by the afternoon hours on Wednesday.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike was also under a reduced speed limit of 45 mph as the roadway operated under a winter-weather emergency. Tractor-trailer rigs pulling empty trailers and double trailers were banned on some stretches. Locally, speed was restricted on the Northeastern Extension (I-476) from Mid-County (Exit 20) to Clarks Summit (Exit 131).
The Turnpike Commission and state police lifted the speed and trailer restrictions late Wednesday morning in most areas, but they remained in place near the Gettysburg Pike (Exit 236) and Harrisburg West (Exit 242) interchanges due to a fatal accident earlier in the day.
Snow for our neighbors to the north was such that New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered closed a 74-mile stretch of Interstate 84 from Pennsylvania to Connecticut.
• Public Transit: Luzerne County Transportation Authority and COLTS buses operated on snow routes. Flights coming in and out of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport were either canceled or delayed during the early-morning hours.
• Schools: Every public school district in Luzerne County was closed as a result of the storm. Wilkes University and King’s College were also closed, along with Luzerne County Community College, the University of Scranton, Penn State’s Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre campuses and Misericordia.