Weather makes travel tricky

A Furrer Beverage Co. beer truck crashed into a utility poll, bringing down two others and resulting in the closure of a stretch of Sixth Avenue in the Eldorado section of Altoona.

The collision at about 11 a.m., Monday caused wires to pull the electrical panels off the nearby First National Bank branch. Monday evening, it was reported that Sixth Avenue would be closed throughout the night.

The bank and Joe’s 58th Street Grill and Tavern, abutting the bank, closed for the day.

“It’s definitely affecting business,” Joe’s owner Tony Pacifico said. “The bank will be open, and we will be open tomorrow, we hope.”

Penelec’s website signaled up to 20 customer outages Monday, caused by the Sixth Avenue accident.

Weight of snow on electrical wires caused 4,092 power outages for Valley Rural Electric Cooperative Inc. customers in Huntingdon, Shade Gap and Martinsburg.

As of 5:30 p.m. Monday, Director of Member Services Doug Roles said 1,150 customers were still without power. He said all outages were expected to be repaired by the end of Monday.

Altoona had received about 3 inches of snow by 11 a.m. Monday, and it was tapering off, said National Weather Service meteorologist Aaron Tyburski.

Conditions weren’t much better in Cambria County, with several accidents reported on major roadways, including a multi-vehicle crash that closed a section of Route 22’s westbound lane near Ebensburg for several hours.

Emergency crews were called to a crash near Dishong Mountain and County Line roads because of the crashes around 1 p.m., which Jackson Township police said were caused after a tractor-trailer jackknifed, slowing down other vehicles.

Another tractor-trailer traveling west then struck the stopped vehicles, including a PennDOT plow truck, which overturned.

There was no information immediately available about injuries resulting from the crashes, but traffic was detoured until around 4:30 p.m..

Officials said several crashes had occurred in the area over the past several days.

Today’s forecast is partly sunny with high in the low 30s. Tonight’s forecast is clear of snowfall, with temperatures in the low 20s. But after midnight, precipitation will probably start as snow then change to sleet and/or freezing rain.

Altoona could receive about three-quarters inch of precipitation in the form of snow or a wintry mix.

Wednesday morning could dawn with 6 to 10 inches of snow, but it’s more likely to fall as sleet-rain mix.

But the frozen precipitation will have an impact similar to a larger snowstorm, Tyburski said.

Accuweather meteorologist Tom Kines’ forecast agreed with Tyburski’s.

“We are seeing a stormier weather pattern than we have been in. The next storm is coming in Tuesday night and lasting into Wednesday. We expect it to start late Tuesday evening with snow. We may get 3 to 6 inches of snow before it changes to sleet and/or freezing rain. If it stays all snow, we could be looking at 6-12 inches, but we don’t think that is the likely scenario. It is more likely to change to sleet and freezing rain.”

Kines said another storm is likely this weekend. Potentially there could be a lot of snow, but there is a potential there may not be. “It depends on how much sleet and freezing rain is included. Both storms have a lot of moisture with them; both will be troublemakers,” he said.

“Right now it looks like the storm is more likely for the second half of the weekend [Sunday] but that can change. I wouldn’t bet any money on that.”

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435. Mirror Staff Writers Kelly Cernetich and Walt Frank contributed to this story.