Remembering the Valentine’s Day Snowstorm

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Five years ago Tuesday, traffic on some parts of the interstate came to a standstill and people had to be rescued from their cars.

A Valentine’s Day snow storm crippled parts of our area. It got so bad that the governor ordered parts of the interstate system closed. People had to be rescued by first responders and National Guard troops.

“My wife worked in the Poconos and got struck in the snow and I remember her calling me frantic about, ‘How am I going to get home? How am I going to get home?’ and I said calm down and get turned around and she got home and everything was fine,” recalled Mike Mordan of Berwick.

He works with Chris Remphrey. Remphrey is in the National Guard and his responsibility was to close the interstate.

“I don’t remember snow and ice accumulate so fast during that storm,” Remphrey said. “Some people were a little irate they couldn’t get on (the interstate) with what they had to do but for safety we had to close it down.”

PennDOT officials said they have learned a lot from the 2007 storm. They hope their changes will help prevent future storms from crippling the area.

“One of the things we found in 2007 was once we really get behind in the storm and you have tractor-trailers jackknifed on the highway, it’s very tough to get caught up once you’re behind,” said James May of PennDOT.

The agency said it is more proactive too.

“We use a lot more anti icing so that bond doesn’t occur. We place wreckers in and around the interstate where there may be a problem,” said Dennis Giodano of PennDOT. “We get out much earlier than we did in the past. We get out before the storm making sure we’re ready to go.”