New Warning System
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As winter weather approaches, the National Weather Service is unveiling a new warning system aimed specifically at those nasty moments of blowing snow also known as snow squalls. The system already being tested along major roads across the country, including I-80. The National Weather Service is testing a new snow squall warning system designed to help drivers in whiteout conditions avoid deadly chain reaction crashes at high speeds. Every winter, officials respond to crash after crash after crash on Interstate 80. Some of them deadly. They're usually the result of a snow squall. "Snow squall is kind of an intense burst of snow that occurs during the winter months. Typically associated with a very strong arctic cold front that passes through the region." All year long, the National Weather Service issues advisories and warnings involving storms. Now, a new warning system just in time for winter. "But we rarely weren't conveying the severity, life threatening potential of the squalls." Warnings will appear online and emergency alert systems will activate a notification to cell phones in the affected areas. "We're not going to be issuing a lot of these, only for the extreme events. There's really a number of criteria that have to be met." The system is already being tested in parts of Central Pennsylvania, like State College. "One of the major killers that we have seen over the years has been these large traffic accidents, especially on the interstates, through the middle of Pennsylvania, associated with these snow squalls." Earlier this year, authorities say Interstate 80 saw a 25 vehicle pileup due to whiteout conditions. In February of 2016, three people died and several others injured and trapped in their cars after a massive multi vehicle crash. "Ultimately our goal I think is if people hear that a snow squall is imminent to just get off the highways because that's really the only safe place you can be." And the testing for this will officially begin January 3rd, 2018. The notifications will appear on your phone similar to an Amber Alert. Young says that if this is successful, the agency plans to start this Nationwide the following winter.