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Stubborn Winter Weather Causes School Delay, Cancels Trains, Downs Power Lines

Police keep drivers away from a downed power line on Route 230 west of Elizabethtown on Monday, March 4.

A late winter storm caused serious disruptions in the Elizabethtown area, causing a delay in school opening and a daylong shutdown of Amtrak’s Keystone Service trains, among other problems.

The Elizabethtown Area School District had a two-hour delayed opening on Monday, March 4. The school district also closed all day due to weather on Jan. 30, Feb. 12 and Feb. 20, which used up the designated weather make-up days planned for in the school calendar. Because of that, there will be a full day of school on Monday, June 3; previously, the last day of school for students had been planned to be Friday, May 31.

Snow on tree branches caused a number of branches to fall, including one that broke a power line and caused a section of Route 230 just west of Elizabethtown to close on Monday, March 4.

Many Amtrak trains could not run on Monday, March 4, because of a problem with the overhead electric lines west of the Elizabethtown station. All trains between Harrisburg and Philadelphia except one use electric-powered locomotives, so they could not run all day. Service was restored by Tuesday, March 5.

The Pennsylvanian, which runs from Pittsburgh to New York with a diesel-powered locomotive, was able to run, though it was delayed, an Amtrak spokeswoman said.

Because trains were out all day, commuters had to find alternate ways to get both to and from work. However, there is a program in place to prevent commuters from getting stranded if there is only a disruption to their rides home. Commuter Services of Pennsylvania, a nonprofit group whose board includes representatives from various transit agencies, has a program called the Emergency Ride Home that reimburses people for up to $100 a year in expenses for getting home by an alternate means, such as a taxi or ride-hailing app, when plans to use mass transit or ride-sharing go awry. Those problems can include mass transit being delayed by at least an hour, unscheduled overtime not requested by the worker, or an unexpected illness.

There might be more snow to come over the next few days. The National Weather Service predicted a A chance of light snow after 8 a.m. on Friday, March 8, but the temperature was expected to rise above freezing with a high near 36 degrees Fahrenheit. The weather service predieded a chance of light snow before 8 p.m. that evening, then a chance of flurries later in the night.

However, things are expected to get warmer over the weekend, with Saturday, March 9, forecast to be partly sunny, with a high near 42 degrees Fahrenheit. Rain is likely in the following night, mainly after 2 a.m.

During the daytime on Sunday, March 10, rain is expected, with a high near 48. That is also the day to set clocks forward one hour for Daylight Saving Time. On the night of Sunday, March 10, rain and show showers are expected, with an 80 percent chance of precipitation.

There is a chance of rain and snow showers on Monday, March 11, with a high near 47 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tuesday, March 12, is forecast to be mostly sunny, with a high near 43 degrees Fahrenheit.

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