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PennDOT Monitors Blizzard Travel in Lackawanna County

DUNMORE -- PennDOT's preparations for the Blizzard of 2017 started a few days ago.

Plow trucks from other areas of the state untouched by the blizzard are helping clear snow from the interstates around here.

PennDOT officials we talked to are already saying the Blizzard of 2017 may be worse than others in recent memory -- 2007, 1996, 1993.

Our meteorology team says, as far as snow totals go, that is true.

PennDOT says something made this one easier for their crews to work in for the most part: people stayed home.

As snow piled up more than an inch an hour in some spots in Lackawanna County, travel got very tricky.

Only a Pennsylvania National Guard Humvee could make it look easy.

Safely inside their headquarters in Dunmore, PennDOT employees watched the blizzard unfold on dozens of traffic cameras.

"Quite frankly, this is probably going to be the worst. Valentine's Day storm was a bad one. The Blizzard of '96 was also a bad one, but this one as far as overall snow totals will probably be the deepest," said PennDOT official Dennis Giordano.

Our Stormtracker 16 meteorologists agree. The Blizzard of 2017 broke the record for single-day snowfall.

But at PennDOT's Internal Command Center, or ICC, they noticed something different. Very few people were out on the roads.

"Normally in this room, during a normal day, you see 40,000 cars a day on these roads. They're usually very busy, but traffic has been extremely light today and I think the motoring public staying home today has been a big benefit to everyone, themselves and us, to get our job done," said PennDOT employee Joe Antosh.

While it may be the biggest, PennDOT says 2017 may be one of the safest blizzards. A lot has changed in the 10 years since the Valentine's Day Blizzard.

"Since then, I should say, there have been so many different protocols that have been out in place, not so much at PennDOT, but even with PEMA, the governor's office, our central office. We talk about storms weeks before they come," Giordano said.

From here, dispatchers communicate with more than 200 plow trucks. Trucks from the Erie area came in to help and PennDOT's line painting crews plowed roads as well.

"They do a phenomenal job, and I know sometimes your customers don't like what we do, but I know for a fact our guys do a wonderful job and we appreciate what they do, and I just want to say thank you in from Channel 16 for everything our guys do," Giordano added.

2 comments

  • Brenda Flowers

    PA drivers are required to clean off their entire vehicle. Drivers can be pulled over and fined $200 to $1000. Flying snow and ice can cause damage or injury.

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