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More than 100 vehicles involved in interstate crashes due to snow squalls

Multiple vehicles were involved in chain-reaction crashes Friday on Interstate 80 west of Snow Shoe. These vehicles were eastbound.
Multiple vehicles were involved in chain-reaction crashes Friday on Interstate 80 west of Snow Shoe. These vehicles were eastbound. Centre Daily Times

Snow squalls on Friday across a three county area contributed to several multiple-vehicle crashes forcing closures on Interstates 80 and 99. More than 100 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 from Centre and other counties and state police were at the crashes.

I-80 eastbound had fully reopened by 5 p.m. Friday, while I-99 in both directions was reopened by 7 p.m., according to a press release from PennDOT.

Information on injuries was not available Friday.

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 should have disappeared after sunset, 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.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz

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