With potential for first flurries comes warning to Valley driver - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

With potential for first flurries comes warning to Valley drivers

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A glimpse of frost and cold Wednesday morning had the Valley preparing for the first signs that winter is coming, and it could be over the next few days. 

The forecast for Friday currently says there could be "a few flurries and snow showers around."

StormTracker 21 Chief Meteorologist Eric Wilhelm even tweeted that temperatures on Saturday have the potential to be near record-breaking cold.

The stark realization that winter-like weather could be just a few short days ahead has prompted statewide officials to issue reminders for drivers, 

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation issued an alert Wednesday saying "winter weather and the potential for snow squalls are in the forecast for areas of northwestern Pennsylvania over the next few days. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) recommends motorists avoid traveling during winter storms if possible, but motorists who must be on the road are urged to use caution while driving."

PennDOT says they are prepared for the expected winter weather, with plow trucks and other equipment ready. They also say crews will be working around the clock if necessary to keep the roads safe and passable.

Similarly, the Ohio Department of Transportation has been gearing up their trucks for several weeks just in case there's inclement weather. 

Motorists who can't avoid driving in the winter weather by moving somewhere it doesn't snow are given the following tips: 

  • Slow down gradually and drive at a speed that suits the conditions.
  • Turn on your headlights.
  • Stay in your lane.
  • Increase your following distance.
  • Stay alert, keep looking as far ahead as possible and be patient.
  • Reduce in-car distractions since your full attention is required.
  • Use defroster and wipers.
  • Keep windows and mirrors free of snow and ice.
  • During whiteouts, come to a complete stop only when you can safely get as far off the road as possible or when there is a safe area to do so.
  • Do not stop in the flow of traffic since this could create a chain-reaction collision.
  • Do not pass a vehicle moving slowly or speed up to get away from a vehicle that is following too closely.
  • Always buckle up and never drink and drive.

Officials are also reissuing a warning about black ice this winter, saying that with freezing temperatures, roads that look wet may actually be icy, and extra caution is needed when approaching bridges and highway ramps where ice can form without warning. 

 Experts also suggest packing an emergency kit for your vehicles, just in case you get stuck in traffic, and snow squall, or an accident. 

Emergency kits should include non-perishable food, water, blanket, small shovel and warm clothes. When preparing an emergency kit, motorists should take into account special needs of passengers such as baby food, pet supplies or medications and pack accordingly.

And before heading out on a snowy day, drivers can check in on conditions around the VAlley using their smartphones.

Pennsylvania roadways are updated www.511PA.com. 

In Ohio, drivers can use OH GO

Both OhGO and 511PA are available as apps for download. 

Valley residents can also get up to date forecasts and weather alerts by downloading the Storm Tracker 21 weather app. 

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