Gov. Tom Wolf activates Commonwealth Response Coordination Center for winter storm response
HARRISBURG — Governor Tom Wolf announced that the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center is activated and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and state agencies are coordinating with local agencies to respond to the severe winter storm impacting the state with high winds and heavy snow. Governor Wolf urged residents to be careful and heed warnings from law enforcement and first responders.
The Commonwealth Response Coordination Center (CRCC) is currently staffed with personnel from PEMA, PA State Police, the Public Utility Commission, PA Turnpike, and the departments of Military and Veterans Affairs, and Transportation.
“My priority is keeping Pennsylvanians safe, and the combination of strong winds and heavy snow are making travel hazardous across much of the northern tier and northeastern Pennsylvania,” Governor Wolf said. “I encourage anyone in those areas to avoid any unnecessary travel through the evening and overnight hours because even when it stops snowing, strong winds will make driving risky.”
PennDOT deployed crews from its districts based in Allentown and the Scranton area and deployed roughly 75 pieces of equipment throughout the storm in Monroe and Pike counties.
In addition, PennDOT imposed 45 mph speed restrictions on sections of Interstates 80, 81, 84 and 380 in northeastern Pennsylvania and on Interstates 86 and 90 in northwestern Pennsylvania. The 45-mph reduction is also in place on the PA Turnpike (I-76/276) from the Morgantown Exit east to the NJ line and on the entire Northeastern Extension (I-476).
Because of the intensity, however, several truck-related crashes were reported, closing sections of Interstates 80 and 380 in Monroe County. In addition, the storm resulted in these closures: sections of Interstate 76 in Montgomery County; Interstate 78 in Berks County; Interstate 81 in northeast Pennsylvania; Interstate 84 in Pike County, and Interstate 476, the northeast extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Carbon County, and Interstate 90 in the Erie area.
PennDOT and PEMA activated the 511PAConnect system to establish contact via cell phone to motorists trapped in queues to communicate updates on the status of roadway closures.
Troopers continue to respond to weather-related crashes. Motorists are reminded to reduce speeds and increase following distance on snow and ice-covered roadways. We urge motorists to be patient on the roadways as we work with our state agency partners to ensure the safety of motorists within the impacted areas.
The PUC reminds citizens that:
- they should not call 9-1-1 to report power outages;
- calls made to 9-1-1 should be for emergencies only. Contact information for utility companies is available on the PUC’s website;
- Stay away from down lines and assume any downed line is live;
- Never try to remove trees/limbs from lines.
Mass transit service in the region is also being affected by the storm. Amtrak reports that Keystone Corridor customers can find out about the service disruption by going to the Alerts page on Amtrak’s website. They can also find out about a specific train by going to Amtrak.com and click on the status button at the top right of the home page, or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL.