From staff and wire reports
LEWISTOWN - A winter storm warning remains in effect across the Juniata Valley through at least 4 a.m. Sunday.
The National Weather Service in State College reports a total of 5 to 8 inches of snow is expected in our region with moderate winds. The heaviest snowfall is expected to be this afternoon with 4 to 5 inches of snow accumulation.
Winston Swartz, left, 18 months, and his brother, Wyatt Swartz, 4, stand with a hay bale snow man Friday afternoon outside their home in East Waterford. The snow man was constructed by their parents, Todd and Kendra Swartz. If the weatherman proves right, the family will be able to build a real snowman before the day is over.
The snow and ice storm, headed for the Northeast, is expected to slow weekend travel by air, rail and highway and has utilities and airports on alert.
The National Weather Service said 6 to 12 inches of snow are expected from Saturday to Sunday in New England. It said up to 14 inches are possible along the Maine coast but as little as 2 inches on Cape Cod. Areas north and west of New York City could get 8 inches or more.
Sleet and freezing rain are expected. The snow is expected to begin spreading from southwest to northeast early Saturday.
Emergency officials in Mifflin County said no major power outages are expected to affect our region, but hazardous travel conditions are expected and motorists should take appropriate precautions.
A saltwater solution applied to roads before storms won't work now because temperatures are too low and the saltwater would freeze, said Kevin Nursick, spokesman at the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
However, crews have treated highways before recent snowfalls with salt, helping to keep snow from bonding. And the storm will not affect work-day commutes.
"The timing is pretty good coming on a weekend," Nursick said.
Alex Sosnowski, an expert senior meteorologist for Accuweather.com, reports the new storm will move in from the South Central states today, tap into cold air and produce a significant amount of snow throughout the state.
While warmer air will move up with that storm, all or mostly snow will fall around the area today, Sosnoski said. Many roads will be slippery and some will be snow covered.
Retailers who have less than two weeks before Christmas to clear their shelves now face the prospect of losing critical weekend sales.
Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation, said consumers likely will shop online. And the weekend before Christmas gives retailers and shoppers another opportunity after this weekend.
"If a big storm hits around the 21st, 22nd, it will be a completely different story," Grannis said.
The wintry precipitation is likely to occur during the Army-Navy Classic today at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Enough snow and icy mix can fall to not only impact the game at Philadelphia, but also disrupt travel throughout the Northeast region.
The PIAA moved two state high school football championship games from Saturday to Sunday because of a predicted 5 to 8 inches of snow. The other two games were played Friday night.
As the precipitation remains heavy this evening it will accumulate up to several inches before changing over to a wintry mix. If this mixing is delayed, there could be heavier accumulation of snow, Sosnoski said.
The storm is expected to move on Sunday, and with temperatures swinging above freezing roads will clear off and some of the snow on grassy areas will melt. However, wet and slushy areas will freeze Sunday night, so motorists need to be alert for areas of black ice.