Ephrata Braces for More Weather

By on March 7, 2018
Recent high winds uprooted this evergreen, causing it to fall against Robert Vasko’s house next to his business, Brickerville Motors, along state Route 322. “I loved that tree,” Vasko said Saturday. He said it tipped over during Friday’s nor’easter and caused some roof damage to the old, stone home. He said he talked to the previous homeowner who remembered the tree being large even 50 years ago. Vasko estimated the tree to be at least 70 years old. Photo by Bonnie Adams

Recent high winds uprooted this evergreen, causing it to fall against Robert Vasko’s house next to his business, Brickerville Motors, along state Route 322. “I loved that tree,” Vasko said Saturday. He said it tipped over during Friday’s nor’easter and caused some roof damage to the old, stone home. He said he talked to the previous homeowner who remembered the tree being large even 50 years ago. Vasko estimated the tree to be at least 70 years old. Photo by Bonnie Adams

Our go-to weather person Eric Horst at Millersville University had cautiously predicted snow would begin overnight on Tuesday but only light flurries were evident by around 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Still, accumulations had begun on cars, decks, outdoor furniture and a front and rear defrost of windshields was a must before drivers set off to work and school. Temperatures dropped to below 30 degrees by 5:30 a.m.

However just after 5 a.m. Horst noted that “With reduced snow rates — light to moderate, rather than moderate to heavy — there may be less travel problems locally…as less-intense snow rates will have a tougher time laying on roads during daylight hours, given strong March sunshine.”

It’s still not clear how much those changes will affect most forecasters’ predictions of five to nine inches of snow today (Wednesday).

It appears the prediction of a storm this morning — formed as light rain or mix then slowly creating a thumping of heavy snow, “perhaps a few rumbles of thunder” — is not likely to happen.

But those forecast revisions were too late to prevent multiple closures as Ephrata Area School District schools and offices are closed Wednesday.

Such is the gamble school districts face when calling off school.

EASD explained it closed schools due to Gov. Wolf’s calling of a state of emergency.

William Harvey, Ephrata police chief and emergency management coordinator said the governor’s office, PEMA, the county and local managers all rely on the professional forecasters., which are NOAA at State College and PEMA (PA has its own state own meteorologist).

“Of course the local media weather office draws their data down from these offices as well,” harvey said. “When the professionals produce a forecast with ‘high confidence,’ the emergency management community from PEMA down has to trust these trained scientists. This in turn has the ripple effect of business, schools and commerce. If they are correct they are the hero and if they are wrong….”

The snow predicted today is the heavy, wet kind and by 6 a.m., trees were getting frosted which could recreate problems encountered during last week’s windy nor’easter which dropped trees all over the county, especially around Brunnerville and Robin Hill roads where many uprooted trees landed on homes and businesses creating serious property damage and causing centralized power outages.

The Dick Winters Memorial Trail was closed temporarily last weekend due to safety concerns associated with the windstorm. Despite the downed trees, Robert Thompson, Ephrata Borough manager, said damage was minimal here and there were no power outages in the borough.

Just after 5:30, Horst said he was developing a revised map because a “coastal storm is developing 75 miles farther east (off shore), so the sharp gradient in snowfall will be across Lancaster, Lebanon, Berks, and Chester counties; and overall Lancaster will get less snow than expected today.”

Patrick Burns is News Editor for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455.

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