Early holiday travel could become tricky

CHERYL R. CLARK/Sun-Gazette A blanket of snow covers the ground in rural Tioga County on Sunday.

Though not much snow fell as a result of the weekend storm system, what did was enough to make driving hazardous because of whiteouts caused by blowing snow, and more precipitation later in the week could make travel over the long Thanksgiving weekend tricky.

Saturday, a day that started out warm with temperatures reaching into the upper 60s, turned cold in a matter of three hours, said Craig Evanego, a National Weather Service meteorologist at State College.

“That front was pretty strong. Over the course of three hours we saw a 30-degree temperature drop,” he said, noting that the Williamsport Regional Airport recorded a 54-mph gust as the front came through.

Though Williamsport received only about a tenth of an inch of snow, there was “more significant snowfall amounts north,” Evanego said, as even higher elevation hilltops around the city were coated Sunday.

According to Evanego, Eagles Mere in Sullivan County had 7 inches of snow with Laporte seeing 6 inches.

In Tioga County, Wellsboro had 2 1/2 inches and Covington a little over 3 inches.

And it wasn’t the light, fluffy variety, but rather the heavy, wet kind that sticks to tree branches and power lines.

A high wind advisory remains in effect for the region until 7 p.m. today, Evanego added, though the precipitation from the storm is about over.

“(Today) will see a bit of sun, with highs around 40 degrees and that blustery northwest wind continuing, so it will feel colder,” Evanego said.

Tuesday will be mostly sunny with a high in the low 40s, but breezy.

Wednesday, a busy holiday travel day, should be partly sunny with the high in the low 40s.

“A bit of a wintry mix could come in Wednesday, which could make travel tricky,” Evanego said.

By Thursday any lingering precipitation should go into just showers with the high in the mid 40s, he added.

Friday there will “still be some clouds around with the high in the 40s.”

Another chance for precipitation arrives Friday night into Saturday, with a 40-percent chance of rain or snow showers, Evanego said.

” ‘Tis the season,” he said, adding, “a lot of this week isn’t too far from where we should be this time of year but since we have had such a mild fall, it seems harsher.”

The American Red Cross offers some steps travelers can take to make it to their destinations safely:

• Check the weather along your route and plan for travel around any storms that may be coming. Watch weather forecasts for your entire route so you know what to expect along the way.

• Buckle up, slow down, and don’t drive impaired. Pay attention to the road, and avoid distractions such as cellphones.

• Be well rested and alert.

• Follow the rules of the road.

• Use caution in work zones.

• Observe speed limits, driving too fast or two slow can increase your chance of being in a collision. Don’t follow another vehicle too closely.

• Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you are too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.

• Clean your headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows to help you see, especially at night.

• Turn on your headlights as dusk approaches, or if you are using your windshield wipers in inclement weather.

• If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.