Area residents at wit’s end with snow

For those who could get through the mountainous snow piles that lined streets and parking lots Friday, the seemingly warm 30-degree weather and clear skies must have seemed like a Valentine’s Day gift from Cupid.

But it wasn’t meant to last: Snow overnight and today could add 2 to 4 inches to freshly shoveled sidewalks and roads before next week’s slight warm-up, forecasters said Friday. And after a long, brutal winter, it’s just about the last straw for some around Altoona.

“For the business owners here, it’s been so much work. I shoveled three times yesterday,” Andrea Collins, owner of Diamond Bridal Collection in Hollidaysburg, said as she shoveled snow in animal-print shoes that didn’t appear to be designed for winter.

With dress-shopping season well underway and winter stubbornly refusing to go, Collins must check outside every few hours to keep customers safe and avoid warnings from the borough police, she said.

As pedestrians and shoppers stumbled over snow piles and cursed in the cold, some said they hoped this weekend’s fresh snow would be the season’s last.

“You’ll have to censor most of what I say,” a Hollidaysburg man said cheerily, declining to provide his name.

“I’ve just stayed home and shoveled,” said another, a Penelec worker locked out of the company’s Altoona facility.

Hours before it arrived, the expected snow already ruined Valentine’s Day weekend plans.

“We were going to go to the Rocky Gap Casino, but I guess that’s not going to happen,” Bonnie Wood of Altoona said, citing storms last weekend that overturned a bus full of visitors en route to the Cumberland, Md., casino. “It puts a damper on the whole Valentine’s Day holiday.”

Just as sidewalks started to clear in front of houses and apartments Friday, homeowners were coming to the realization that they’d have to toss away fresh piles of snow just a day later – and for many, without the aid of chemicals.

Empty pallets lined the entrance to the Altoona Home Depot store – just days earlier, employees said, they’d been loaded with road salt. By Friday, after a week of miserable weather, there probably wasn’t a grain to be found in western Pennsylvania, store Manager Neal Waldron said.

Bryan Williams of Altoona said he’d missed a business opportunity after finding a supply of sidewalk salt for sale in Clearfield.

“I could have bought a pallet and sold it down here for $50 a bag,” he said with a laugh.