Quick-hitting snow squalls and frigid air combined late Tuesday afternoon to play havoc with area roadways. 

There were crashes reported on virtually every major highway in Cambria and Somerset counties, beginning just before 3 p.m., county 911 centers confirmed. 

“When it snows the first time, people forget how to drive and go off the roads,” a Cambria County 911 supervisor said. 

Injuries were reported in just two of the wrecks.

One person was taken to Memorial Medical Center following a 2:57 p.m. crash on Route 219 near the Galleria Exit, and one person was taken to Memorial following a two-vehicle crash just after 4 p.m. on Route 56 Johnstown Expressway just west of the Walters Avenue Exit. One of the vehicles caught fire. 

Two crashes were reported on Route 219 in the area of the South Fork and Sidman exits, the 911 supervisor said. 

In one, a tractor-trailer jackknifed in the southbound lanes near the South Fork Exit. The other was a single-vehicle crash in the northbound lanes near the Sidman Exit. 

Eisenhower Boulevard was shut down for a time because of a crash and icy roadway.

In Somerset County, accidents were reported on Route 219, Route 30, Route 160 and in Meyersdale, the 911 dispatcher said. 

There were no patients transported by ambulance from Somerset County crashes by early evening. 

In addition to the accidents, there were numerous reports of vehicles getting stuck on icy roadways, tying up traffic until road crews arrived, the Somerset dispatcher said. 

Accuweather meteorologist Jake Sojda said Tuesday’s icy blast will be short-lived, with little additional snow this week. 

“We have high pressure building in,” Sojda said. “As that starts to get over top of us, that’s going to squash those lake-effect (snow) bands. 

“We are really on the downswing of things.”

Temperatures should moderate Wednesday, but will remain below normal through the weekend, he said. 

“For the last half of the month, and even into December, we are expecting it to average out around normal,” Sojda said.

Randy Griffith is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5057. Follow him on Twitter @PhotoGriffer57.

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