Snow, frigid temperatures to hit Chesco this weekend

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times

If you loved today’s frosty weather, just wait until you see what Thursday and the weekend bring to Chester County: even colder temperatures and yes just enough snow to make Thursday morning commute a bit tricky.

AccuWeather is forecasting about an inch of snow in the morning, some area may see as much as three inches with a high of 25. However sustained winds of 17MPH — with gusts predicted to be as high as 30 MPH — will make it seem colder and could causing blowing snow and restricted visibility in the morning.

“After a brief moderation from the cold at midweek, more bitter cold and downright harsh air will return,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliott said.

This air mass will be about 5-10 degrees lower than the one that froze the Northeast during the final few days of December and start of January, according to Elliott.

So, Friday, we return to the deep freeze — the high is expected to be 16. Saturday will be worse, with a forecast high of 15. Temperatures should start moderating Sunday, creeping back into the low 20s, before breaking through the freezing mark Monday. The bad news: expect a mix of rain, sleet and snow Monday, before it all switches to rain Tuesday morning.

For this coming weekend, AccuWeather says cold weather records, some more than a century old, could fall in the Philadelphia region.

Low temperature records, some dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, will be challenged in Baltimore; Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New York City, Buffalo and Syracuse, New York; Boston; Hartford, Connecticut; and Bangor and Portland, Maine, on Friday and/or Saturday night(s). A frigid biting wind will make it even more uncomfortable and dangerous to be outside no matter the length time.

Mid-Atlantic AAA is stepped up efforts to be ready to the Thursday morning commute.

“Our roadside assistance fleet has been working round the clock to rescue our members, especially during this extreme cold snap,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “When the forecast calls for cold temperatures and snow, it means all hands on deck at AAA so we can respond to our members as quickly and safely as possible.”

And while the snow and wind will make for tricky driving, the real threat could be the cold on Friday and Saturday.

As a result, state officials are warning residents to make preparations for the weather — both for their home and car.

“While some Pennsylvanians have already experienced dangerous winter weather, the months of January and February often bring the most treacherous and long-lasting severe weather conditions across the state, like sub-freezing temperatures, snow, ice and sleet, so it’s important to be prepared,” Altman said. “Individuals should take proper precautions and review their homeowners and auto insurance policies in the event of a weather-related incident.”

Most standard homeowners policies provide coverage for cold weather-related damage; however, taking steps to prepare your home may help mitigate some of these issues before they arise.

Homeowners should check pipes for cracks or leaks, ensure that pipes are well insulated, turn off the water supply to outdoor faucets and try to maintain a constant temperature to help prevent pipes from freezing.

Trimming dead tree branches can also help reduce the chance of a branch breaking under the weight of snow or ice and causing damage to a home or a vehicle.

If damage does occur, property owners should only make temporary repairs that are necessary to prevent further damage until an adjuster is able to view the property. Making permanent repairs without the guidance of an adjuster may result in a claim’s denial.

Drivers should examine their tires and replace them if needed. AAA recommends keeping an emergency road kit that includes essential items like drinking water and non-perishable snacks, extra clothes or a blanket, window washer solvent, an ice scraper, a first-aid kit, jumper cables, warning devices like flares or triangles and a cell phone car charger.

When driving in severe weather, exercise extreme caution. Even if snow or sleet is no longer falling, road conditions can still be dangerous and slippery.

If weather conditions contribute to an accident, auto insurance will help pay for the damage, but the consumer may still have to pay a deductible. Damage to a vehicle caused by hitting another car or structures like a lamp post, telephone pole, building, sign, or fence will be covered under a policy’s collision coverage. Damage from forces of nature like falling ice or tree limbs is covered under comprehensive coverage.

“Winter weather conditions can be unpredictable and cause unexpected incidents or accidents,” Altman said. “It’s important to report any incident to your insurance company as soon as possible to ensure that your property is properly assessed, repaired or replaced as needed.”

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