Wolf issues emergency declaration ahead of storm

From staff reports

With a winter storm expected to bring heavy snow, high winds, sleet and freezing rain across the state through this weekend, Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday signed a state of emergency declaration to allow for increased assistance with storm-related needs.

A news release from the governor’s office said speed limits will be restricted to 45 mph on interstates and expressways as the storm progresses.

A commercial vehicle ban on all commercial traffic, including buses, on most interstates and the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be in place from noon today to noon Sunday on all interstates and the Turnpike, except for Interstate 95.

The ban will also be imposed on the U.S. Route 22 expressway in the Lehigh Valley and the Pennsylvania Route 33 expressway in Northampton and Monroe counties.

The emergency declaration allows for additional help from neighboring states and standing up the Pennsylvania National Guard for swift response to possible changing priorities, the release said.

The commercial vehicle ban, the release said, will allow plow crews to have a clearer route to keep interstates open.

“Travel will be very challenging this weekend with the combination of heavy snow, high winds, sleet, freezing and plain rain and then a rapid drop in temperatures on Sunday,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards.

“If you must travel, please check 511PA for the latest conditions and be prepared in case extreme conditions trigger long delays on your route.”