PennDOT prepares, communities across the region brace for blizzard conditions

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PennDOT crews have been treating the roads all week and now the brine is done, the trucks are loaded and it's go time as crews across the region brace for the approaching blizzard. (WPVI)

PennDOT crews have been treating the roads all week and now the brine is done, the trucks are loaded and it's go time as crews across the region brace for the approaching blizzard.

"Basically we will bring our crews in two hours in advance of when the snow is expected to start," said Gene Blaum of PennDOT.

In the operations center, all eyes are on the screens and that will continue through the weekend.

More than 300 cameras will track the plow and salt trucks.

"It's going to be a very challenging storm," Blaum said. "Not only heavy accumulation but wind, strong winds, blowing snow, poor visibility and possible drifting of snow."

PennDOT officials say the plowing will probably last until Monday.

With 360 operators working around the clock in 12-hour shifts, fatigue is a concern for local crews.

"We work shifts. They'll go off the clock and go down for 4 hours and go to asleep and come back on," said Pete Scerati, PennDOT worker.

The fact the snowfall comes on a weekend and not during a week day rush hour is a huge help for plows and salt trucks, and for commuters.

But of course, there is the exception for those who have to head to work in the middle of the snowfall.

Marilyn Merksamer said, "I'm stressed about the whole thing. I'm stressed about not being home, because you want to be home in a big storm in case something happens."

But the anticipated rate of snowfall and resulting blizzard conditions has officials urging people to stay home.

PennDOT reduced the speed limit on highways to 45 miles per hour on Friday night.

If you do need to drive, officials say stay six car lengths behind the plows. Drivers can also check 511PA's website for updates on road conditions before they leave home.

Officials also recommend keeping an emergency kit handy that includes water, nonperishable food items, a shovel, etc.

PennDOT says they are looking ahead to Monday. They are optimistic with the snowfall predictions, they can have the roads cleared.
Related Topics:
weathersnow stormphilly newspa. newsblizzard of 2016Norristown Borough
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