BENTON – In the week leading up to the storm that hit on the night of March 13, meteorologists warned civilians about the weather that was about to hit with full force. However many people brushed off their concerns, until the snow started to fall.
Meteorologists were initially calling for 8 to 10 inches of snow, then the predictions kept getting higher for Columbia County. The night before the storm hit, the predictions were up to 14 to 24 inches.
In the Benton area, total snow accumulation racked up to 30 inches in some places. This left people trapped in their homes if they didn’t have a snow plow or a hired plow service. Catrina Coppola, a resident of rural Benton, said, “We were trapped in our house for three days. The plow service didn’t come until Thursday to dig us out.”
The storm also caused problems for people trying to get to work. Although there was a state of emergency declared for Pennsylvania, some places like hospitals needed to stay open. Eventually, the National Guard was called to transport people from their homes to work at local hospitals.
Local schools shut down for the entire week, with the exception of Monday. The amount of snow that fell left main roads too dangerous to travel on, even days after the initial storm had passed.
Some people anticipated the enormous amount of snow. Another resident of Benton, Lori Lyons, visited the local grocery store on her way home from work to prepare to be trapped in her house for a few days. “When I got there they were completely out of milk and bread, and the store was packed.”
Lyons also prepared to dig herself out. She said her plan was to start shoveling her long driveway when the snow started, and continue to shovel every few hours to keep up with the snowfall. Her plan was not a success. “I fell asleep for two hours and when I woke up there was already 6 inches of snow. I realized then that I wouldn’t be able to keep up,” she said.
Bloomsburg was also hit hard by the Nor’easter. The following links are to stories about the impact of the storm in the Bloomsburg area: