It’s time to put away the lawnmower and barbecue grill for the next 24 hours or so and grab the snow shovel and ice scraper once again.
Northwestern Pennsylvania, northeastern Ohio and southwestern New York are under a winter storm warning for today and most of Tuesday with up to about 15 inches of snow possible on the ground in parts of Crawford County by Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service Office in Cleveland.
A late winter storm was forecast to develop over the region overnight Sunday and continue to affect the area today and Tuesday.
The culprit is a strong low-pressure system moving slowly north across central Pennsylvania and western New York. Exact snow amounts will depend upon the precise track of the low, but total accumulations in Meadville are expected between 9 and 15 inches.
About an inch of snow was expected in Meadville overnight Sunday, but the snow cranks up today and tonight as the low-pressure system moves north.
About 4 to 8 inches of snow may fall today with snow heavy at times. Another 4 to 6 inches of snow may fall tonight, too.
Winds will be out of the north from 20 to 25 miles per hour today, gusting up to 45 mph before swinging to the northwest tonight in the 15 to 25 mph range with gusts up to 40 mph. The winds won’t die down until late Tuesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
The snow that falls will be heavy, wet and driven by the strong winds. It may have a significant impact on trees and other vegetation as well as potentially affecting power lines, according to the National Weather Service.
With the threat of downed power lines, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is offering the following tips for residents during a power outage:
When the lights go out
-Call your utility.
-Check on elderly neighbors and those with special needs who might need additional assistance.
-Use a phone that does not require electricity to work. A cellular phone or corded phone will work. A cordless phone won’t work without electricity.
-Turn off lights and electrical appliances except for the refrigerator and freezer. When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary surges or spikes that can damage equipment. After you turn the lights off, turn one lamp on to know when power is restored. Wait at least 15 minutes after power is restored before turning on other appliances.
-Only use a flashlight or battery-operated lanterns for emergency lighting. Don’t use candles.
-Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer. Food can stay cold for a couple of hours if the doors remain closed. For longer outages, plan to place refrigerator and freezer items in coolers with ice. If in doubt, throw it out.
-If you are going to use a generator, don’t run it inside a home or garage. When using a generator, connect the equipment directly to the outlets on the generator. Generators also shouldn’t run near any open windows or other areas where carbon monoxide may travel into the home such as a air vents.
Driving during a power outage
-Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion. If traffic lights are out, treat all intersections as four-way stops. It’s required by law for safety.
-Stay away from downed power lines and sagging trees with broken limbs and don’t touch or get near any fallen lines.
-Stay away from objects or puddles in contact with downed power lines.
-Notify the utility company.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.