As daybreak approached on Thursday, a Winter Storm Warning for the Oil Region was expiring.
The storm which struck late in the morning of the day following Christmas dumped more than a foot of snow in parts of northern and northwestern Pennsylvania, closed some stores early, and forced the closings of a number of highways until they could be properly cleared and treated. In addition, PennDOT reduced the speed limit to 45 miles per hour on several sections of interstate highways, including all of Interstate 80, Interstate 79 in Mercer, Crawford and Erie Counties, and Interstate 90 in Erie County.
Official snowfall measurements included tallies of just over twelve inches in parts of McKean County near Bradford, eleven inches in Potter County, and ten inches in parts of Venango and Mercer Counties. In the eastern part of the state, most of Wednesday’s precipitation fell in the form of rain, but heavy winds caused the cancellations of some flights from Philadelphia International Airport. By Thursday morning, the lone remaining weather advisory was a freezing rain warning for parts of the Pittsburgh area.
One fatality was reported in this corner of the state. A Westfield, New York man died when his pickup left an icy highway in Warren County and struck a tree. The fatal incident happened on Plank Road in Columbus. The victim was identified as 67 year-old Raymond Lawson.
The list of roads that were temporarily closed locally included, but was not limited to, Route 322 in Cranberry Township in the Victory Heights area, Franklin’s 15th Street Hill and Meadville Pike in Franklin’s Oak Hill neighborhood. PennDOT reported Route 36 was closed until early evening from Pithole Road to Pike Road in Allegheny Township in northern Venango County because of a tractor-trailer that jackknifed, blocking both lanes of travel.
Thursday’s forecast carries a chance of snow through mid-afternoon, but any additional accumulation should be measured in a fraction of an inch.