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Friday, January 23, 2015

State Officials Urge Citizens to Prepare For Double Hit of Winter Weather

Harrisburg – State officials are urging the public to pay attention to forecasts calling for two storms to impact Pennsylvania over the weekend. Current weather reports show the potential for the first storm to bring as much as 6 – 8 inches of snow tonight and tomorrow along the Interstate 81 corridor, with amounts decreasing to the northwest and southeast.

Forecasts at this time also indicate the second storm will likely bring snow to much of the state starting Sunday evening and impact the Monday morning commute.

“PennDOT and other emergency officials are ready to handle this storm, and we urge motorists to be sure that they’re prepared as well,” Acting PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “We should all think safety first and be prepared to postpone travel if necessary, but if you must travel, make sure that you and your vehicle are ready for winter driving.”

In areas where forecasts are calling for significant snow and possible icy conditions, motorists should postpone travel whenever possible. Those who travel in adverse conditions should ensure that their vehicle has a full tank of gas and an emergency kit packed. The kit should include warm clothing, blankets, non-perishable food and water, and any needed items such as medications and baby and pet supplies.

To help make decisions as to whether to travel during winter weather, motorists are encouraged to “Know Before You Go” by checking conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 700 traffic cameras.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

“These storms are a good reminder to the public to make sure they have adequate emergency supplies in their homes and their cars,” said Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director Richard D. Flinn, Jr. “Just having some basic supplies on hand ensures that your family is ready for any type of emergency.”

Flinn said a home emergency kit should include at least three days’ worth of water, non-perishable food and specialized supplies such as medications and baby or pet supplies. Citizens should also have battery or hand-crank operated flashlights and radios on hand in the event of a power outage, as well as a first aid kit.

Never call 911 to request or report road conditions. When calling 911 to report an emergency, it is critical for callers to stay on the line, even if for an extended series of rings, until the operator answers. Hang-ups due to frustration result in wasted staff time as the 911 center tries to reestablish contact.

The commonwealth’s ReadyPA campaign encourages citizens to take three basic steps before an emergency occurs: Be Informed, Be Prepared, Be Involved. More detailed information, including downloadable emergency kit checklists and emergency plan templates, is available online at

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