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Katherine Mansfield/Observer-Reporter

Shovels were in short supply at Shop ‘n Save Friday afternoon. Jeff Duritza rolled out another load of rock salt, which was also popular with customers ahead of the winter storm.

A powerful winter storm is expected to dump between 8 and 12 inches of snow on Washington County Sunday night into Monday morning, with Greene and Fayette counties receiving an estimated 6 to 8 inches.

“First half of the weekend, no problem. (Saturday) is a dry day – if you’ve got things to do, you’re fine,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Tom Kines. “Sunday night, travel is going to be difficult at best. If you have the option of not going out Sunday night, I would certainly advise staying put.”

Snow is expected to begin falling Sunday around 1 p.m., with the heaviest snowfall starting between 8 and 10 p.m. Snow will continue falling until around 1 p.m. Monday, with potential snow showers lasting into late Monday afternoon.

The storm, dubbed Izzy by The Weather Channel, will impact Monday morning commutes, said Shannon Hefferan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh.

“It’s going to be delayed in the morning hours,” she said. “The main roads might be cleared. The secondary roads will probably be a nightmare. If you can delay travel until at least Monday afternoon, I would advise it.”

Hefferan said Washington County is expected to receive the brunt of Izzy’s weather, and Kines noted the eastern part of Fayette County will see significant snowfall.

While snow in Southwestern Pennsylvania is nothing new – residents weathered the blizzard of ‘93 and Snowmageddon in 2010, and saw 9 inches of snow in December 2020 – folks are stocking up on essentials ahead of the storm.

“Got the essentials: bread, milk, bananas, eggs, TP. Bring it on!” Greene County resident Janis Jones Rohanna wrote in a Facebook post.

Rohanna, who buys in bulk at Sam’s Club, said she tries to keep the essentials in stock at home “to avoid the traditional ‘It’s going to be Armageddon!’ rush by the rest of the world!”

That rush began Thursday, when several locals ventured out to pick up groceries and snow supplies.

“I think we’re about cleaned up on snow shovels,” Jeff Duritza of Duritza Enterprises, which owns the Canonsburg and Washington Shop ‘n Saves, said Friday. “We didn’t have a whole lot of shovels to begin with. Rock salt, we’re OK right now. We have some more coming tonight.”

Shovels were a hot commodity at the region’s Home Depot stores, too.

“People are definitely flocking more to those weather-prep items,” said Catherine Mootz, Home Depot’s manager, brand communications and public relations. “Of the people coming into the stores, it’s definitely focused on that winter-weather prep. But we’re not really seeing panic buying.”

Like Home Depot, Lowe’s starting stocking local stores earlier in the week to ensure locations were equipped with enough emergency supplies to get customers through the storm.

“We’re seeing strong demand for snow shovels, salt, generators, portable heaters and other weatherization products,” said Steve Salazar, the company’s manager of corporate communications.

Increased demand reached beyond weather supplies: In Canonsburg, Jeffrey’s Drug Store saw an uptick in foot traffic Friday.

“It seems like there are more people coming in,” said pharmacist Brian King. “We have older people and they’ll try to make it before (the storm hits).”

King said Jeffrey’s delivers prescriptions, and routes and delivery times may change, depending on how bad the storm is.

In Fayette County, Byer’s Market was busier than usual Friday, too, with folks restocking their toilet paper supplies.

“They usually do,” laughed Donald Arthur, who has owned the store since 1996. “I’m more of a last rush. I’m a convenience store, so (the rush) won’t hit me until the storm.”

Some, like Washington’s Jerika Lynn Pearson, who said stores were busier than usual Friday morning, planned to hang tight and ride out the storm at home, while others were embracing the first significant snow of winter.

Joshua Knicely opened Knicely Outdoor Services with his wife, Kimberly, in June. He was looking forward to the storm, and said customers had already booked his snow removal services Friday morning.

Jackie Jurcevich said she and her grandson were planning to sled-ride, and several other area residents had plans to spend time outdoors.

Alaina Ribnicky, of Donora, said she was pretreating her sidewalks and parking pad and stocking up on groceries before the snow started falling. Then, she said, she planned to have a little fun with her fiance and son in the storm.

“There is one long and windy road behind my house with forest land on both sides,” Ribnicky said in a Facebook comment. “We are going to take the Hummer if it snows and go and drive because it looks like a winter wonderland back there.”

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