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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Gov. Tom Wolf says he is declaring a state of emergency ahead of this weekend’s winter storm.
He announced the declaration on social media, saying: “I’m declaring a State of Emergency as #WinterStormHarper approaches. We’ll be aggressive in managing this storm — snowfall rates could exceed 1-2 inches per hour. Our top concern is the safety of residents. Postpone travel if you can, and be aware of changing conditions.”
⚠️ I’m declaring a State of Emergency as #WinterStormHarper approaches. We’ll be aggressive in managing this storm — snowfall rates could exceed 1-2 inches per hour.
Our top concern is the safety of residents. Postpone travel if you can, and be aware of changing conditions. https://t.co/Kk8P8ENeEF
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) January 18, 2019
The state of emergency will allow for increased assistance with storm-related needs. State officials say they will also impose speed restrictions and a ban on all commercial traffic, including buses, on most interstates and the Pennsylvania Turnpike from noon Saturday through noon Sunday.
Speed limits will be restricted to 45 mph on the interstates and expressways as the storm progresses, the governor’s office said. They are hoping that will help road crews keep the roads clear.
They are urging people to stay home this weekend if possible, and if you have to go out, take it slow and watch for changing weather conditions.
PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said in a press release: “Travel will be very challenging this weekend with the combination of heavy snow, high winds, sleet, freezing and plain rain and then a rapid drop in temperatures on Sunday. If you must travel, please check 511PA for the latest conditions and be prepared in case extreme conditions trigger long delays on your route.”
Amtrak has canceled Trains 42 and 43 on its Pennsylvanian line, which were scheduled to travel between New York and Pittsburgh with stops in Philadelphia and Harrisburg.
They also canceled Trains 662, 664, 672, 661, 667 and 671 on its Keystone line, which traveled between New York and Harrisburg.
Additionally, a number of airlines with flights in and out of Pittsburgh International Airport have waived change fees for the weekend.
The declaration also allows for help from neighboring states and the activation of the Pennsylvania National Guard.
For more information, visit the state’s website here.
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