A second major winter storm in less than three weeks swept through the region Thursday and continued into Friday, bringing ice, sleet and snow with it and leading to a number of crashes on Interstate 80.
Emlenton fire chief Trevor Hile said his department was dispatched to three wrecks on Interstate 80 Thursday night, and the firefighters also responded to a number of other crashes they came across on the interstate.
“We would come upon stuff and we couldn’t bypass it…we’d stop to make sure everyone was OK,” Hile said. “We were out for about six hours last night (Thursday night into early Friday).”
PennDOT usually gets involved when there is a road closure on the interstate, but Hile said PennDOT crews were too busy plowing and treating the road during the storm Thursday night, so the fire department was out taking care of the closure longer than normal.
In Clarion County, crashes and other weather-related incidents picked up at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday and continued throughout the night, Clarion County 911 said.
“It all came in at once. We waited all day for the storm. When the freezing rain came it all just hit,” the Clarion 911 dispatcher said of the crashes and other weather-related incidents.
Clarion County 911 said that at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, two tractor-trailers were reported off the road on I-80 near mile marker 64 westbound.
That scene was cleared at about 9 p.m., 911 said.
Clarion state police, Clarion and Limestone fire departments and Clarion Hospital Ambulance responded to the scene.
Then at about 9 p.m. Thursday, another crash on I-80 eastbound near mile marker 48.6 involving a semi-truck and box truck came in, 911 said.
The dispatcher said one of the vehicles involved in the crash rolled over, but it was unclear which one rolled.
One person was transported to the hospital, 911 said.
The scene was cleared at 2 a.m. Friday morning, 911 said.
In another incident, a tree came down Thursday night on North First Avenue near Madison Avenue in Clarion, bringing wires with it and closing down a portion of Route 322 on River Hill from about 7:30 to 9 p.m., Clarion 911 said.
A tree also came down on Route 66 near Drummon Animal Hospital at about 10:15 p.m. Thursday, 911 said.
New Bethlehem volunteer firefighters responded and cleared the tree away in a short time, 911 said.
A couple of other weather-related crashes were reported to Clarion County 911 Friday afternoon. One was in the Shippenville area and the other was in Monroe Township.
Venango County 911 said they didn’t have crashes or other weather-related calls Thursday evening into Friday morning.
Jason Frazier, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh, said Friday snowfall totals were between three and six inches in Venango, Clarion and Forest counties.
In Venango County, between four and six inches of snow was reported with the greatest accumulation in Polk at six and a half inches, Frazier said.
In Clarion County, three inches of snow was reported in the Clarion area and in Cooksburg, but going toward Summerville only an inch of snow was reported, marking sharply the edge of the snow band, Frazier said.
Frazier noted that it took a long time for the cold air to move east, leading to less snow and more freezing rain, rain and sleet in those areas.
As of 7 a.m. Friday, about four inches of snow had accumulated across Forest County from Tionesta to Marienville, Frazier said.
Another inch or two appeared to accumulate across the area Friday as residents and work crews were digging and plowing out again while the flurries fell most of the day. The earlier storm that played out Jan. 16 and 17 brought about a foot of snow to some locations.
In the coming week, Frazier said we are in for “an extended period of dry weather,” with very little additional snowfall likely.
Temperatures are expected to hover around freezing next week, so the snow that has been on the ground for a while still won’t be going anywhere.