Turnpike official: Outdated forecast led to stranded drivers

Written by The Associated Press | Feb 17, 2016 11:17 AM

In this photo provided by Dave Saba, traffic is at a standstill on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Somerset, Pa., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. The Duquesne men's basketball team and Temple University's women's gymnastics team are stuck on the Turnpike due to treacherous weather conditions. A mammoth winter storm crawled up the U.S. East Coast on Saturday, making roads impassable, shutting down mass transit, and bringing Washington and New York City to a standstill. (Dave Saba via AP)

(Harrisburg) -- A Pennsylvania Turnpike official says the agency relied on an early, less-serious forecast in preparing for last month's snowstorm that left hundreds of motorists stranded. 

Turnpike Commission Chairman Sean Logan has testified before a state Senate committee on the state's response to the storm. 

He says officials planned around a January 22 midafternoon advisory that called for a "manageable range'' of snow in central Pennsylvania.

Logan says it predicted about eight inches of snow and adds they didn't get their next update with predictions to a foot or two of snow until almost 10:00 p.m.

Lawmakers countered TV news had updated predictions throughout the day. 

More than 500 vehicles were stranded for almost 24 hours on a 16-mile stretch of the turnpike between Bedford and Somerset.

It started when two tractor-trailers became disabled and blocked lanes.

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