Winter weather prompts school delays Friday

Area school districts were on two-hour delays Friday following the first snowstorm of 2014.

State College Area, Bald Eagle Area, Bellefonte, Penn Valley and Philipsburg-Osceola all announced two-hour delays because of winter weather. Bald Eagle Area pointed to “hazardous road conditions.”

St. Joseph's Catholic Academy and South Hills School of Business and Technology were also opening two hours later than normal.

Penn State declared a “Midnight Clear,” banning parking in surface lots until 7 a.m. Friday to allow crews to clear snow.

AccuWeather reported single-digit temperatures across the region early Friday, with a high of 12 degrees in the forecast. The service warned of “frigid” conditions through Friday night.

Many Centre County schools closed early Thursday because of the snowstorm that began about noon.

Combined with the coldest Arctic blast of the winter, the snow and frigid temperatures packed an icy one-two punch.

A winter weather advisory was issued Thursday and into Friday morning by the National Weather Service in State College.

The advisory runs until 7 a.m. Friday, and snowfall was expected to total up to 6 inches, according to NWS. In addition, it warned residents of possible hazardous travel due to snow-covered roads and reduced visibility.

An accident involving multiple vehicles was reported on Interstate 99 in Spring Township, and the Exit 83 southbound ramp was closed at 3:15 p.m. and reopened within half an hour.

Speed limits on Interstate 80 in Centre, Clearfield and Clinton counties were reduced to 45 mph beginning at 5 p.m., as well as on I-99 in Centre County.

The state Department of Transportation issued an advisory, warning motorists to avoid the roads if possible.

“PennDOT follows weather forecasts just like our customers do, but the bottom line is that weather is unpredictable and we need to be prepared for quick changes in weather and road conditions,” Secretary Barry Schoch said in a news release. “If significant precipitation is forecast, people shouldn’t travel unless they must. This ensures that everyone stays safe and crews can focus on treating the roads.”

Wind chill readings will fall to 5 to 10 degrees below zero into Friday morning, with winds at 10 to 20 mph and gusts to 30 mph, according to NWS. forecasts a high of only 11 degrees and a low of 4 on Friday. Temperatures are expected to climb some Saturday, with a high at about 25 degrees and a low of 17. On Sunday, the high is expected to reach 33 degrees with a low of 18. Rain and ice are possible, according to AccuWeather.

Another deep-freeze is forecast for next week, when highs Tuesday won’t reach double digits and overnight lows Monday and Tuesday are expected at 0 to negative 5 degrees.