Winter weather causes hazardous driving conditions

A quick-moving snow shower, or squall, was to blame for the poor visibility and decreased driving conditions that may have contributed to multiple traffic crashes around the area on Monday.

Emergency responders were kept busy Monday afternoon. Immediately following the beginning of the snow squall, multiple crashes were reported to the Lycoming County 911 Call Center.

Crashes were reported at 2405 Prospect Lane in Williamsport, 1565 Route 422 in Williamsport and the intersection of Elimsport Road and Turnback roads in Montgomery Township.

Route 220 was temporarily shut down from Rabbittown Road to Auchmuty Road at about 2:45 p.m. following a two-vehicle crash that occurred at 1565 Route 442 in Muncy Creek Township. According to authorities, the road was reopened to traffic at about 4:15 p.m.

According to Joe Ceru, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College, snow squalls are possible over the next several days due to cold air moving across southern Canada and the northeastern U.S.

“These are typically fast-moving weather events that feature strong winds and snow showers. They will quickly decrease visibility and cause hazardous driving conditions,” Ceru said.

He recommended that drivers check for any weather advisories for their area before heading out onto the road.

“We have several special weather statements that we release, which follow squalls as they make their way across the state,” Ceru said.

However, Ceru warned that the strong winds associated with a squall could be just as dangerous as the rapid snowfall.

“Our major concern right now is the strong, cold air behind the front,” Ceru said.

Over the next several days, the area will continue to see rapid snow showers and strong, icy winds.

“The winds will be extremely gusty. The windchill factor is expected to be in the low single digits to around zero,” Ceru said. “While that’s not low enough for an advisory, it’s still a concern.”