Winter weather will move into the region tonight and Thursday, hitting Blair and surrounding counties as part of a system that AccuWeather expects to affect more than 70 million people in the Midwest and Northeast.
Elyse Colbert, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in State College, said people living in and around Altoona should see much of the major snowfall begin tonight and continue Thursday morning. She said the periods of heaviest snow would be Thursday afternoon and evening.
She said the amount of accumulation would depend on the track the storm system takes.
"At this point, it does look like there's going to be at least a couple inches," Colbert said. "It's going to stay cold enough to be an all-snow event."
A release from AccuWeather warns New Year's travelers to be prepared for flight delays and cancellations because of the storm's size. Roads will become slippery as temperatures drop.
Colbert said temperatures in the region will fall to the teens for most of Friday.
"Factoring in wind chills, you're easily looking at - even during the day on Friday - wind chills in the single digits," she said.
The National Weather Service forecast calls for a low of 6 on Thursday night. Temperatures are expected to peak at 15 on Friday before dropping to 2 on Friday night.
PennDOT spokeswoman Tara Callahan-Henry said local crews are not planning for a major winter weather event, but trucks will be on alert in case conditions do worsen beyond expectations.
She said satellite trucks stationed throughout District 9 - which encompasses Blair, Bedford, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset counties - will monitor precipitation in each county.
Roads are too wet to pretreat to help prevent sliding, so Callahan-Henry said drivers must be aware of their speed and maintain a safe driving distance.
"I think that's the one thing that we can't say enough: People still are just driving way too fast for the conditions," she said. "Posted speed limits are for ideal conditions."
PennDOT Deputy Press Secretary Erin Waters-Trasatt said crews are well-stocked across the state to handle the upcoming storm. She said drivers should be prepared to stay at home if necessary.
"Think safety first, and know that roadways will not be bare while snow is falling," she said.
Waters-Trasatt said the road conditions and weather cameras for major Pennsylvania roadways, including I-99, can be viewed online at www.511pa.com. Drivers can also call 511 for traffic updates.
Mirror Staff Writer Paige Minemyer is at 946-7535.