Snow squalls on Friday in Centre County contributed to three multiple-vehicle crashes forcing closures on Interstates 80 and 99. About 65 vehicles were involved.
At about 11:30 a.m., a crash between Exit 133 (Kylertown in Clearfield County) and Exit 144 (Snow Shoe) eastbound on I-80 involved about 25 vehicles, said Garnet Ninosky, safety press officer for the state Department of Transportation.
Three hours later, two multiple-vehicle crashes involving about 40 vehicles on I-99 forced closures both directions between Exit 68 (Gray’s Woods) and Exit 52 (Bald Eagle), Ninosky said.
First responders and state police were on the scene on both interstates, she said.
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I-80 eastbound had fully reopened by 5 p.m. Friday, and at about 6:45 p.m. I-99 southbound and northbound between Exit 68 and Exit 52 had fully reopened, according to a press release from PennDOT.
Information on injuries had not been released as of 4 p.m.
According to state police at Lamar, two more separate crashes involving 45 vehicles occurred at about 2:30 p.m. on I-80 westbound in the area of mile marker 189 in Greene Township, Clinton County.
Alex Sosnowski, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather, said snow squalls were scattered throughout Centre County on Friday, with the heaviest ones moving northwest to southeast during the early part of the afternoon.
The squalls were associated with a push of Arctic air coming in, which will stay through the first half of the weekend, Sosnowski said.
Snow squalls behave like summertime thunderstorms and are “very intense,” he said.
The danger for motorists is not only the sudden drop in visibility but also that roads can go from dry to wet to snow covered in a minute, Sosnowski said.
The worst of the snow squalls passed through the area by 3 p.m. and remaining flurries will disappear after sunset, he said.
He said people should be on the look out for black ice Friday night, which can happen quickly after sunset.
Bridges and overpasses ice over quickly, as do surfaces not hit by the sun during the day, he said.
Saturday’s temperatures will rival some of the coldest the county has had this winter, but snow squalls are not expected, Sosnowski said.