Hoping for the last of winter

If March is supposed to go out like a lamb, it will need its heavy wool coat as winter apparently wants to stick around.

Wintry precipitation caused travel problems across the region on Monday, including multiple accidents and some road closures.

Between noon and 6 p.m. Monday, supervisors at both Blair and Cambria County 911 centers reported 44 accidents, 34 of them in Blair with many occurring on Interstate 99 and Route 22.

Supervisors at both centers said there were no major injuries reported and expected call volume to drop to normal levels through the evening.

An accident closed part of Route 350 between Philipsburg and Bald Eagle for a couple of hours on Monday afternoon.

The weather impacted local schools, with most districts opting to send students home early and cancel evening activities.

Hollidaysburg Area School District Superintendent Paul Gallagher said the district occasionally has problems delivering students to the Blue Knob area, as was the case Monday when two buses were unable to deliver home some students. Parents had to pick the students up.

“You never know what the weather’s going to do,” Gallagher said, adding that he was appreciative of cooperation the district receives from parents. “You have to do what’s safest for the kids.”

PennDOT spokeswoman Pam Kane said a squall came down faster than expected Monday, but all road crews were out and will be working 12-hour shifts until further notice.

She also said people should remember that interstate roads are as a rule, are taken care of first because of heavier traffic. Many forget that Route 22 isn’t an interstate, she said.

Kane said people need to remember to use their headlights and seat belts, increase following distance between vehicles and slow down.

Anyone wanting to check on road conditions should dial 511 or visit 511PA.com, Kane said.

AccuWeather senior meteorologist John Dlugoenski said although spring is upon us, springtime weather isn’t coming anytime soon and this March has been unseasonably cold.

For instance, the average high temperature for the first day of spring is 48 degrees, with a low of 30 degrees. The high for Thursday, the first day of spring this year, “it’s not even going to get above freezing,” he said and there’s a chance of flurries that day, as well.

While conditions will have improved by today, there will be a chance of flurries or snow throughout the week, and temperatures will drop below freezing every night, he said, even dipping into the teens Wednesday and Thursday.

“Unfortunately, it looks like the current weather pattern will continue,” even through the end of the month, Dlugoenski said.

Weekend temperatures are expected to hit the mid-40s and offer a bit of a reprieve, but they still will fall below the seasonal average.

“We’re in a winter-type pattern.”

National Weather Service forecasts predicted snow and possible thunderstorms overnight, with snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches and up to one-tenth of an inch of ice.

Temperatures will remain in the 30s today throughout the day, with wind gusts up to 35 miles per hour.

Mirror Staff Writer Kelly Cernetich is at 946-7520.