Friday, February 16, 2024

First Person: Snow Day


The storm that moved though our area Tuesday will be a memorable one, for a few reasons.

It started when I arrived at work Saturday night.  Meteorologist Valerie Smock was going over all the possibilities, and there were several.  Meteorologist Ally Gallo did the same thing on Sunday and Monday morning.  Every computer run said something different.  There was no agreement and it really was one of those "two inches to a foot" storms.

I considered the station's offer of a hotel room Monday night.  I declined.  The forecast was becoming more clearly defined, and I would be driving in to work Tuesday morning just as the storm was starting.  the roads would be passable.  As it turns out, during my eight mile journey, I didn't see a flake until I turned on to Montage Mountain Road in Moosic.

Let me back up for a moment.  Late Monday morning, the executive producer, the news director and I had a quick huddle, in an effort to have me report like a champion.  Colleague Amanda Eustice would be live in Mount Pocono Tuesday morning.  As an aside, Amanda has become a really good snow reporter.  I would take Hazleton, which looked likely to be a trouble spot.  We were right.

Photographer Tim and I piled in one of our better snow trucks around 3 am Tuesday.  All Monday afternoon and early Tuesday, all I could think about was what I would talk about if the storm was a bust.

It wasn't.

We hit snow in Avoca, and it became worse with every mile.  It was snowing hard when we hit Broad and Church in downtown Hazleton, and it didn't slow down until late morning.  I've been in several snow storms over the years.  This was among the worst.  Plow trucks made passes, but they just couldn't keep up with the snow.  It was an interesting morning forecast, including cars sliding and stuck.  A hero police officer helped push one car out of the intersection to keep traffic moving.

After the morning broadcast, Tim and I worked on a story for our noon broadcast.  The ride back to home base in Moosic turned out to be an adventure.  We crawled.  Parts of 81 were closed by crashes, so we took the back roads and side streets.  Luckily, we know them.

Our report aired in its scheduled slot.  It was time to go home and dump the wet clothes.

I still have the feeling there will be a couple more repeat episodes before winter ends.