PennDOT restricts travel on I-83 and other highways ahead of Winter Storm Izzy

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

Local entities are preparing for the worst with Winter Storm Izzy on the way.

PennDOT has announced restrictions on all interstates south of Interstate 80, including Interstate 83 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday.

York County municipalities have already begun to take measures for snow, including Loganville and North York, which declared emergency declarations through Monday night.

More:Snow emergencies declared in some parts of York County

More:Powerful winter storm blasts through South, on way to Northeast

Heavy snowfall, followed by ice and sleet, will form a wintry mix that could create dangerous road conditions, said National Weather Service meteorologist Mike D'Angelo.

The first flurries will begin around 2 p.m. Sunday, followed by a heavier period of snow in the evening. York County will see 2-4 inches of snow, he said.

Snow will continue falling past midnight into Monday morning. After midnight, precipitation will get lighter with sleet or freezing rain — which can be just as dangerous as snow,  D'Angelo said. 

“If you don't have to travel, don't try and travel this late afternoon and this evening when snow will be the heaviest," D'Angelo said Sunday. "Sleet is a funny animal — it tends to make a nice sheet of ice. After the heavy snow is over, that can be difficult for road crews to clear off."

Overnight, temperatures will rise to the low 40s before leveling off in the mid-30s during the day on Monday.

Despite warmer temperatures, “it makes a slushy mess," D'Angelo said. 

Additionally, York County residents should expect high winds, with gusts up to 40 mph, he said.

“Stay safe, especially while driving and shoveling snow,” D'Angelo said, adding that it's common for heart attacks to occur when people try to shovel heavy snow. 

Marc Unger of York City walks past the fencing outside Christ Lutheran Church on South George Street in York Monday, Dec. 27, 2021. He was heading out for some lunch as flurries continued to fall in the area. Bill Kalina photo

Ahead of the snowstorm, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission are imposing road restrictions to prevent unnecessary travel. 

Starting at 3 p.m. Sunday, "Tier 2" restrictions will be imposed on all interstates south of Interstate 80, though not including I-80. That includes I-83, the Pennsylvania Turnpike from the Ohio border to New Jersey and the turnpike's Northeast Extension from I-276 to I-80, the entire length of Route 22 and the entire length of Route 33.

Vehicles prohibited under Tier 2 restrictions include the following: 

  • Tractors without trailers
  • Tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded enclosed trailers
  • Open trailers or tank trailers
  • Tractors towing loaded tandem trailers unless there are chains or another approved alternate traction device on board 
  • Enclosed cargo delivery trucks that meet the definition of a CMV; 
  • Passenger vehicles (cars, SUV’s, pickup trucks, etc.) towing trailers
  • Recreational vehicles or motorhomes
  • School buses, commercial buses and motor coaches
  • Motorcycles

Starting at 7 p.m. Sunday, Tier 2 restrictions will be imposed at all interstates north of I-80 — including I-80 — and Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension from I-80 to Clarks Summit.

Beginning at 7 p.m. Sunday, "Tier 3" restriction will be in effect for I-70 east of I-79; and  I-99.

Vehicles prohibited under Tier 3 restrictions include the following: 

  • No commercial vehicles except loaded single trailers with chains or approved alternate traction devices
  • School buses, commercial buses and motor coaches
  • Motorcycles
  • RVs, motorhomes and passenger vehicles

At 11 p.m. Sunday, Tier 3 restrictions will be in effect for  I-81 north of I-84, I-84 and I-380.

"PennDOT will pre-treat roadways where necessary ahead of the storm to help prevent ice from forming a bond with the pavement during the early stages of a storm," PennDOT said in a news release. "However, salt is not a silver bullet, and drivers may encounter icy spots on the roadway."

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.