STATE COLLEGE – Snow spread over most of Pennsylvania Friday, closing schools early and making for a tricky afternoon commute, as forecasters called for 1 to 4 inches through Saturday morning.
The state Department of Transportation reduced speeds on several roads and interstates in southcentral Pennsylvania, and turnpike officials declared a weather emergency. Crews were out in force plowing and salting to combat the relatively minor but widespread storm.
Hundreds of schools statewide dismissed classes early Friday, while at least one judge in Pittsburgh sent jurors home to beat the snow. Philadelphia International Airport was reporting average flight delays of nearly two hours Friday evening.
PennDOT spokesman Steve Chizmar characterized it as a “widespread storm, impacting the entire state” and said the transportation agency had 2,200 trucks available to fight the weather. Salt and anti-skid material were in good supply, he said.
The flakes capped a week of frigid temperatures. In northeastern Pennsylvania, officials said 71-year-old Walter Elwine was found dead in his unheated home Thursday, and that his wood-burning stove hadn’t been used recently, the Pocono Record reported. An autopsy was planned.
Meanwhile, a burst pipe at Stroudsburg High School caused a smoke alarm to get wet, setting it off and prompting a brief evacuation Friday. And in Scranton, a maintenance man using a heat gun to thaw a water pipe at a tavern set a small part of the building on fire Friday morning, causing heavy smoke damage.