Snow snarls traffic, closes schools; deep freeze next

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Updated, 11:50 a.m.: Adds postponement of Rep. Costello’s Town Hall event.

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

Snow, wind and cold snarled the Thursday morning commute closed schools across the county as well as county offices, as road crews around the area worked to keep roads clear, fighting snowfall that is expected to continue through midday.

Slippery roads, high winds and poor visibility closed virtually all schools in the county — every public district is closed — and all Chester County government offices. Local municipal offices were either working on a two-hour delay, or closed, so check on your local town if you need to contact officials there.

The weather has also forced the postponement of U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello’s Town Hall meeting at Downingtown West High School scheduled for tonight. While there is no information on a possible make up date, those with tickets to the Downingtown event may bring that ticket to Rep. Costello’s Saturday town hall at the Wyomissing Junior/Senior High School. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m., and the town hall starts at 1:30 p.m. The school is located at 630 Evans Avenue in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania 19610.

Typical of problems around the county — Route 82 in East and West Marlborough north of Unionville Village was a challenge for drivers, as wind-driven snow from horse pastures on either side of the roadway would re-cover the road almost as quickly as road crews worked to uncover them. While the overall amounts of snow — somewhere between one inch in western areas of the county to three or more on the eastern and northern parts of the county — weren’t overwhelming, the high winds kept moving snow.

Still, as compared to the Jersey Shore, where as much as a foot of snow is expected, Chester County got off pretty easily. One big concern: a deep freeze into the single digits combined with winds of 20 MPH or higher will make for dangerous conditions in the overnight and early morning hours. Windchill at 7 a.m. — the start of the morning school bus run in many areas — is expected to be -10 F or lower around the county. You’ll want to bundle your kids up warmly before sending them off on the bus.

If you don’t have to go out, stay home. If you must travel, be aware of wildly varying road conditions. Slow and cautious driving — regardless of whether you have All Wheel Drive or not — is the order of the day. Chester County Emergency Services reminds drivers to give plenty of room to plow trucks — at least six car lengths.

As of Thursday morning, most customers have been able to keep the power on, even with the high winds. PECO reported less than 100 customers without power as of 9:30 a.m.

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