The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local 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
Local News
  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

  • bachota Volunteers helping to spruce up community

    Walls and ceilings inside the Cambria County Library look clean and bright with fresh new coats of paint on them.
    The work was recently done by inmates from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • alanna Hartzok targets income disparity

    Alanna Hartzok described herself as being a conservative progressive.
    The Franklin County resident said she is in favor of conserving environmental resources, education opportunities, Social Security and Medicare, while wanting to progressively address wealth inequality, health care and taxation.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schools rise to leadership challenge

    Forest Hills and Cambria Heights high school students put the spirit of healthy competition toward a good cause and picked up some lessons in leadership along the way.

    April 19, 2014

  • KATEY LADIKA Student’s photos win awards

    A Forest Hills High School junior has captured several awards in a high school arts and writing contest that has identified greats such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Music to my ears

    Seldom has $15 produced such a high level of entertainment as it did a few weeks ago when I found myself in the second row just left of center keeping back the tears once again during my third live performance of “Les Miserables.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Bye, bye, Easter birdies

    Animals fascinated my mom. Riding the train between Johnstown and Philly, she saw horses, pigs, sheep, cows … a Mattel See ’n Say of farm critters.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Travelogue of terror features Johnstown area

    A historic week will surround the venerable Silver Drive-In come the beginning of May.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos


Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads