The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

January 5, 2014

Region braces for frigid forecast

JOHNSTOWN — A polar front will sweep bitter cold – and dangerous – weather conditions into much of the nation early this week.

And it likely will bring the most frigid temperatures the Johnstown and Somerset areas have seen in decades – a rare, potentially record-breaking forecast that local residents should prepare for even if they are staying indoors, meteorologists said Sunday.

“This is probably the coldest air people have seen in 20 years. Temperatures are going to steadily drop (today) and it’s going to be bitterly cold,” National Weather Service meteorologist Elyse Colbert said.

What forecasters call a polar vortex – a counter-clockwise rotating pool of North Pole air – has moved its way farther south than usual and will hit the U.S. Combining already cold conditions with the 15 to 25 mph winds the front will bring threatens the likelihood of temperatures that will feel like 30 to 40 below zero with wind chills factored in Tuesday, she said.

Tonight’s predicted low is 12 degrees below zero, Colbert said.

The message: be ready for it.

For those venturing outdoors, bundle up in multiple layers and leave nothing exposed to the cold air, if possible, she said.

“When you are dealing with weather like this, frostbite and hypothermia are going to be big concerns. Don’t go outside unless you have to,” Colbert said, noting it can take only a few minutes for frostbite to set in.

Pets, even with their furry coats, “are just as susceptible to frostbite as we are,” she added, saying to keep them indoors as much as possible.

Area residents appeared to be preparing for winter’s worst Sunday. Grocery store parking lots throughout Johnstown were packed with cars.

But grocers like Market Basket manager Gary Swan said they, too, prepare for frigid forecasts.

“If anything, we over prepare,” Swan said, noting management pays close attention to storm predictions.

The staples – milk, bread and the meat counter – often get hit hard by customers preparing for the worst, he said.

“Even just gallons of water – people go for it just in case they get stranded,” Swan said while shoppers pushed carts behind him in the Richland store.

Local suppliers like Galliker’s often bring four deliveries of milk a day when winter weather is on its way, he said. Typically, the store might only need one truckload, he said.

Along Osborne Street, Andy Nosko of Roxbury was among the shoppers heading out of Randy’s BiLo in Johnstown.

But he said he had already stocked up on his household’s milk, water and other needs.

“We’re set for the week. We’re just going to stay indoors if we can and try to stay warm,” Nosko said.  

Chris Knotts of Benscreek said she won’t be so lucky. She has to drive to work all week.

“It means dress warm, keep your body covered and just deal with it,” she said, maintaining she’s trying to stay positive – but realistic – about the frigid forecast.

“It could be worse. It gets to be more than 100 below zero in Alaska.”

In the Cambria-Somerset area, temperatures are expected to begin to rise Wednesday, although highs are only supposed to climb into the 20s, Colbert said.

Highs will reach the 30s and, possibly, low 40s by Friday, she said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • 140407_GT_OUT_Forster_1.jpg Revolutionary War flag could fetch millions at auction

    An iconic piece of history from the Revolutionary War is up for auction through Doyle New York, an auction and appraising company in New York City.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • E-Cigarettes target youth with festivals, lawmakers say

    The findings, in a survey released Monday by members of Congress, should prod U.S. regulators to curb the industry, the lawmakers said. While e-cigarettes currently are unregulated, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a plan that would extend its tobacco oversight to the products.

    April 16, 2014

  • Boston doctors can now prescribe you a bike

    The City of Boston this week is rolling out a new program that's whimsically known as "Prescribe-a-Bike." Part medicine, part welfare, the initiative allows doctors at Boston Medical Center to write "prescriptions" for low-income patients to get yearlong memberships to Hubway, the city's bike-share system, for only $5.

    April 16, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why Facebook is getting into the banking game

    Who would want to use Facebook as a bank? That's the question that immediately arises from news that the social network intends to get into the electronic money business.

    April 16, 2014

  • Classes to resume at Franklin Regional High School

    April 16, 2014

  • 10 things to know for today

    April 16, 2014

  • Search teams will send unmanned sub to look for missing Malaysian airliner

    Teams searching for a missing Malaysian airliner are planning for the first time to send an unmanned submarine into the depths of the Indian Ocean to look for wreckage, an Australian official leading the multi-nation search said Monday.

    April 16, 2014

  • bank1 West End bank robbed

    The West End branch of AmeriServ Financial was robbed Tuesday morning, two days before the branch is scheduled to close.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • weather_2 Old Man Winter returns to area

    Just when you think we’ve finally escaped the cold temperatures, winter swoops back in to remind us it’s not going away just yet.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads