Snow, rain hit region

Jan. 10—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — A dense snowfall, followed by cold rain and wind gusts up to 65 mph on Tuesday, created hazardous driving conditions, power outages and cancellation of activities.

But the storm also left behind snow-covered ground that will provide opportunities for winter recreation in the upcoming days.

AccuWeather's senior director of forecasting operations Dan DePodwin reported that around 6 inches of snow fell in the Johnstown area and up to a foot in the higher elevations during a "pretty quick-hitting but intense period" in the morning.

DePodwin said winds above 50 mph were reported at the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport.

Penelec recorded numerous power outages throughout the region.

Schools, libraries and other organizations canceled planned events.

The snow and rain significantly impacted driving conditions. U.S. Route 22 in Cambria County was closed both directions between the Indiana County line and state Route 271 (Nanty Glo interchange) for a period of time.

Ben Franklin Highway (SR422) was shut down between the Indiana County line and U.S. Route 219 west.

Municipalities also spent hours clearing streets, including in Johnstown where 17 public works employees maintained 92 road miles.

"It's one thing to get a snowstorm, but when you get a little bit of rain after a snowstorm you get a multitude of different issues with draining and running out of places to put the snow," Johnstown Public Works Director Jared Campagna said.

"We've got snow piled up along the gutter line. These roads are designed to crown in the middle to shed the water to the gutter line. We have to remove that snow in order for proper drainage to have an effect. It's an uphill battle."

Going forward, DePodwin anticipates "typical" and "pretty quiet" weather for Wednesday and Thursday before there "could be a pretty similar storm to (Tuesday)" on Friday. It could bring an additional one to three inches of snow into the region.

The new snow, though, will also benefit skiers, snowshoers, snowboarders, snowmobilers and children riding sleds in the upcoming days.

The Pennsylvania Cross Country Skiers Association posted an update for Laurel Mountain on Tuesday afternoon that stated: "trails were groomed. However, the wind had picked back up. Summit Road not plowed from downhill entrance to warming hut. The snow had turned to wet, dense consistency. So, driving in that might get you stuck, even with a Subaru. If nothing else, there's plenty of snow for now, and a packed base. Hopefully we can ski tomorrow!??"

Eric Knopsnyder, director of public relations for the tourism promotion organization GO Laurel Highlands, said those outdoor recreation folks make a positive "far-reaching" impact on the economy.

"You get the guests who are staying overnight, which is obviously phenomenal for the hotels and the lodging properties, but you get people filling up their gas tanks, you get people going into restaurants and eating, you get people shopping," Knopsnyder said.