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Phil forecasts no early end to winter driving conditions

Pennsylvania's most famous weather forecaster foresees no early spring, when the officials who handle Punxsutawney Phil reported his forecast in spite of the lack of sun that would seemingly inhibit Phil seeing his shadow.

The announcement was made as rain changed to snow on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney to a crowd of about 11,000. The weather across Pennsylvania was a mix of rain changing to snow, as another major winter storm moves across the region after covering parts of the Midwest with heavy snow. Driving conditions in Pennsylvania could deteriorate Monday night as colder air follows, and allows a repeat of flash freezing to occur.

Flash freezing caused dangerous road conditions two weeks ago, numerous chain-reaction truck and car accidents and two fatalities. Snow Monday in eastern Pennsylvania resulted in the Turnpike being closed after a semi-truck crashed.

While expected snow accumulations have been reduced, there is considerable moisture in the system, and with temperatures predicted to fall into the teens overnight, there could be many icy spots throughout the state.

Avoiding travel in these conditions is always the safest bet, as you avoid the risk of sliding off the road on your own and the potential for other drivers negligently crashing into your vehicle, when they lose control on a curve or slide through an intersection.

If you do have to drive in less than ideal conditions, check the forecast when you leave and be prepared for changing conditions. Make sure you have enough gas and warm clothes in your vehicle, if you become stuck and have to wait for assistance. And always allow enough time, and keep in mind, it is better to arrive late than to never arrive at all.

Csmonitor.com, "Prognosticating marmot forsees six more weeks of winter," Associated Press, February 2, 2015

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