STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Airports canceled flights, hundreds of schools dismissed early, and all manner of Friday-night events were postponed as a massive storm dumped snow on parts of eastern and central Pennsylvania — just in time for the evening commute — but seemed to cause few major problems.
The National Weather Service revised its snow forecast downward and predicted the heaviest accumulation in Pennsylvania would total 8-10 inches in the Pocono Mountains. Philadelphia expected 2-4 inches. Other parts of central and eastern Pennsylvania could see 2-8 inches by Saturday morning.
Crews treated the roads ahead of the storm, but major arteries in northeastern Pennsylvania were either slushy or snow-covered Friday night as the storm blanketed the region with an inch an hour.
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency reported no road closures or major problems as the storm intensified, and only a few hundred customers were without power late Friday — though more were possible overnight.
Still, nobody was taking chances. Public and private schools, colleges and universities throughout central and eastern Pennsylvania made the decision to close early in response to earlier forecasts of more than a foot of snow in the Poconos and lesser amounts elsewhere.
Philadelphia International Airport reported 250 canceled flights Friday, while Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport also reported a handful of cancelations. And bus service from Pennsylvania into New York City and other areas of New York and New Jersey was curtailed, stranding some passengers.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation applied brine to highways before the first flakes even fell then had its plows out in force.
Crews were giving first priority to major highways, "but that does not necessarily mean that roads are going to be completely free of ice and snow," PennDOT spokesman Steve Chizmar cautioned.
While the state has experienced a few minor snowstorms recently, Chizmar said, "this one looks like it's going to pack more of a punch, particularly in the northeast."
Pennsylvania State Police troopers were keeping a close eye of roadway conditions, with instructions to report back to the agency's watch center in Harrisburg if conditions deteriorated as expected later Friday. They were paying special attention to heavily traveled arteries like interstates 78, 81 and 476 in eastern Pennsylvania.
State police spokesman Trooper Adam Reed said the patrols are vital for helping keep the public informed of dangerous travel conditions, or when a decision is made to close a road.