Out like a lamb? With spring comes snow in Southwestern Pa.

March 24, 2013
Though spring has arrived, snow continues to cover the area, including lawn tractors outside Lowe’s in Strabane Square, South Strabane Township, Thursday. - Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Readers in the area are most likely waking up to yet another morning of snowflakes as forecasters are predicting up to eight inches from Sunday evening through this afternoon. Although some readers may feel as though the spring season should bring with it sunshine and warmer temperatures, experts maintain it’s normal to get some flurries this time of year.

“Just a typical late season snowstorm,” said John Darnley, meteorologist for the National Weather Service. “Never really outside of the realm of possibilities this time of year.”

NWS was predicting 3 to 5 inches of snow in Washington Sunday evening with another 1 to 3 inches this morning and early afternoon with temperatures falling to a low of 27 degrees. Darnley said the storm originally generated over Oklahoma and was riding up the Tennessee Valley toward Western Pennsylvania.

Although he expected moderate snowfall, Darnley said the storm would not reach anything approaching blizzard conditions.

“It’s more of a nuisance storm,” Darnley said. “This late in the year people want to start thinking about springtime, getting outside to do some yard work. They don’t want to be thinking, ‘Where did I put the snow shovel?’”

But not everyone in the area was disappointed to see more snow. Nick Dolan, owner of Dolan’s Outdoor Services in Washington, was happy to see some later-than-expected business for his snow-removal business.

“Obviously, the thing about snow removal is you can’t always count on it snowing,” Dolan said.

Dolan, who has been in the snow-removal business for the last seven seasons, said this winter had about average snowfall – even if it did seem like a winter wonderland when compared to the warmer-than-average winter of 2011-12.

“It just means you’re going go to have to be prepared,” Dolan said. “As long as I’ve been doing this, I still get a little apprehensive because (forecasters) never quite hit it right on head.

“We’re more than well equipped to do our job – we’ve been through blizzards – but you’re always worried when you get a forecast of 10 inches because it can turn into 30 inches like it did a few years ago.”

When he first got wind of the storm, Dolan said he ordered more salt in order to be as prepared as possible. His fleet of pickup trucks and Bobcat skid loaders were standing ready for the first flakes to fall Sunday.

Although it might not be good for many readers’ commute this morning, an early spring snowfall isn’t all bad for business.

“I’d prefer a winter like this year,” Dolan said. “We invest a lot of money on snow removal just in case it shows up. We tool up and if it doesn’t show it means we didn’t utilize all of the equipment we spent money on in order to be more efficient.”



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