Portion of I-80 closed after crash amid regional snow squalls

Lauren Fox
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Portion of I-80 closed after crash amid regional snow squalls

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) issued a warning to motorists at 11:41 a.m. EST on Feb. 29, that I-80 eastbound was closed between Penfield and Clearfield exit around mile marker 111. The closure came after an incident with at least one jackknifed tractor trailer.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller said at the time of the incident, snow squalls were occurring in the area. In a video captured of the jackknifed tractor-trailer, visibility is seen to be low, and snow covered the ground.

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"Snow squalls are intense bursts of snow, similar to how thunderstorms work in the summertime by producing heavy rates of snowfall," Miller said.

Snowfall rates were at least half an inch to 1 inch per hour, Miller said, and locally could be higher. Because snow is falling so fast, it creates white-out conditions during the day, dropping visibility to almost zero miles.

Snow squalls also produce wind gusts that can reach 30-35 mph, which causes the snow to blow around, contributing to the low visibility, according to Miller.

He said snow squalls can result in dangerous roadway conditions.

"In addition to not being able to see, due to the low visibility, roadways can quickly go from being dry to snow covered, causing slippery road conditions," Miller said.

The closure was cleared at 12:34 p.m. EST.

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