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73 vehicles pile up during weekend snowstorm in Pennsylvania

Highway shut down for 4 hours Saturday

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

A weekend storm system in the eastern U.S. may have led to a 73-vehicle pileup on a Pennsylvania highway. It happened just after 2 p.m. ET Saturday.

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Pennsylvania State Police reported that 10 people sustained injuries in the massive accident on state Route 581 in Cumberland County, near the borough of Lemoyne, just a few miles across the Susquehanna River from Harrisburg. In a statement on Twitter, a trooper said injuries ranged from “minor to moderate.” Injured victims were taken to local hospitals for evaluation and treatment by medical staff.

State police also said that of the 73 vehicles involved, 43 were damaged. A section of the highway was closed for about four hours while officials investigated the crash.

State police were assisted at the scene by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and multiple fire, EMS and tow agencies.

As of Monday morning, officials had not determined the cause of the crash. However, it occurred as a snowstorm moved through the region and a driver who was transported to a warming center at New Cumberland Fire Department described whiteout conditions, saying he “heard multiple slams” for about five minutes “until everything finally calmed down.”

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The National Weather Service reported just 3 inches of snow Saturday in the Harrisburg area, but the peak wind gust was 44 mph, which could have produced blowing snow and low visibility.

The good news is that another major snowstorm in the Northeast is unlikely this week. Based on the latest forecast models Monday morning, most of the region will remain until Friday when rain arrives.

(Map: FreightWaves SONAR Critical Events and radar, 8 a.m. ET, Mar. 14, 2022. To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, click here.)

Notable weather this week

Heavy valley rain and mountain snow could delay trucker and freight flows Monday and Tuesday in the Pacific Northwest. The NWS has issued a winter weather advisory for portions of the Washington Cascades, where 12 to 36 inches of snow could accumulate above 4,000 feet in elevation. Meanwhile, some places below 4,000 feet in western Washington could see several inches of rain and potential flooding.

Heavy rain could also soak western Oregon, far northern California and northern Idaho. The NWS has posted a flood watch for portions of the Olympic Peninsula north of Olympia, Washington. There’s always a chance that the NWS may add flood and winter weather alerts in other parts of the region.

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 5 from Seattle to Stockton, California.
• Interstate 90 from Seattle to Butte, Montana.
• U.S. Highway 101 from Olympia to San Francisco.
• U.S. Highway 12 in Washington from west of Yakima to east of Mossy Rock.

Look for severe storms Monday in the Arklatex region. Intense thunderstorm winds and large hail, as well as isolated tornadoes, are all possible in Texas from the Austin and Dallas areas to southeastern Oklahoma, southwestern Arkansas and Shreveport, Louisiana. Periods of torrential rain could lead to localized flash flooding.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.