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Winter storm makes mess of post-Christmas Day travel

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 26 2012 04:21:08 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 26 2012 05:02:55 PM CST

The day after Christmas is one of the busiest travel days of the year, but a winter storm left driver's scrambling and hitting the roads early Wednesday.

UPPER BERN TWP., Pa. -

The day after Christmas is one of the busiest travel days of the year, but a winter storm left driver's scrambling and hitting the roads early Wednesday.

Drivers passing through Berks County were headed up and down the East Coast, everywhere from North Carolina to New England.

Wednesday's snowfall had the post-Christmas travelers running ahead of schedule. Heavy snow snarled holiday traffic and quickly coated major roadways all over Berks.

"We're planning to be where we need to be before the storm is over," said one driver, who loaded up her children in the car at Love's Travel Stop in Upper Bern Township.

That seemed to be the name of the game as drivers filled up their vehicles with gas at the busy travel stop.

Snow and ice covered the hood of Cescil Allsopp's car. He was coming from Virginia and tried to beat the storm before he reached home in New York City.

"I figured we're probably ahead of it, I figured when we got up here it'd be much nicer," said Allsopp, who was traveling with his wife.

That wish went out the window as flakes started to fall around noon Wednesday in Berks.

"We're originally from Alaska, so no big deal to us. This is a walk in the park," said Rick Goldsmith, who was traveling to see his daughters in New England.

It may be a walk in the park if you're from Juneau, but a different story for drivers in Pennsylvania and for Karl Schlotterbeck. He started his drive early in the morning to reach his family in Virginia.

"Going a little bit earlier yeah, we left at 6 a.m. to try and get ahead of it," said Schlotterbeck.

"We left a little earlier so we could get there and get home and get away from it, try not to be stuck in bad weather," said Marco Sa, who was on his way home from work.

The bad weather prompted the Pennsylvania Turnpike to temporarily lower the speed limit to 45 mph for nearly 300 miles, including part of the highway in Berks County.

PennDOT also temporarily lowered the speed limit to 45 mph on I-78, I-176 and Route 422 in Berks County.