NEW CASTLE —
Updated Story: Lawrence County got a taste of the major snowstorm that disrupted Thanksgiving travel through the Midwest and Northeast.
The early winter storm dumped at least six inches of snow throughout the region. At times, some roads were impassable, and as the heavy, wet precipitation clung to branches and lines, power and other utility outages became a problem.
Early Wednesday afternoon, Chuck Jackson, area manager of Penn Power, said about 300 customers in Lawrence County had no electricity. All the outages were small, Jackson said, usually affecting just a handful of properties.
Jackson cited the wet snow and its weight as the main culprit, noting it caused branches to sag or break, which in turn downed lines. He was anticipating all customers in the county to be back in service by midnight Wednesday.
He noted Penn Power crews from the Zelienople area had been sent here to work on problems. That region was not hit as hard by the storm.
Despite these problems, Jackson said, Lawrence County did not have it as bad as neighbors to the north. Mercer County was contending with outages impacting about 1,300 customers Wednesday afternoon, most of them in the Grove City area.
Although not every down line carries electricity, Jackson urged individuals to exercise caution in every circumstance. People should avoid downed lines and contact authorities, he stressed.
As for roads, conditions improved Wednesday after various problems and a string of accidents Tuesday afternoon and evening in the county. Road crews were able to get ahead of the snow, which slowed early Wednesday.
However, forecasts were warning of increased winds, which could produce blowing and poor driving conditions on area roads.
As for dealing with the storm, Mike Rooney, director of New Castle’s public works department, commended his crews for doing a superb job removing the night’s snow. He said they cleared streets so well that if New Castle city schools were not off for Thanksgiving vacation, “they would have had school.”
He said eight crew members operating eight snow removal vehicles started working at 3 p.m. Tuesday and were expecting to finish up Wednesday afternoon. He said that both main and side streets were in good shape.
A light, but steady snowfall was taking its toll on Lawrence County as a storm struck Tuesday.
The weather challenged motorists as well as emergency responders contending with a series of accidents.
Multiple injuries were reported in an almost constant string of accidents throughout the county Tuesday. And in one instance, a child was injured when hit by a vehicle in North Beaver Township.
Also, a school bus was reported over an embankment along Portersville Road in Perry Township. No information was available at press time regarding details of that accident.
Although it could not be confirmed whether these accidents were weather related, they occurred at 4 p.m. and 4:20 p.m. respectively, as emergency personnel were dealing with crashes throughout the county, apparently caused by slick roads.
The child was hit by a vehicle on Columbiana Road near Smalls Ferry Road and an ambulance was summoned.
Snow began to fall in the county late Tuesday morning. At the time, precipitation was light and temperatures hovered at or just above freezing.
However, in the afternoon, the snowfall became heavier and the accidents began. Most were outside the city of New Castle, where road surface temperatures were slightly lower.
Frequently, the accidents caused police to close roads temporarily and reroute traffic in an effort to avoid additional problems. Later into the evening, sections of roads were being closed because of hazardous conditions, particularly on hills.