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Before the flakes: Last-minute preparations ahead of first snowfall

It's the first snowstorm of the season and of the new year. Residents made last minute stops to pick up snow supplies at stores in Schuylkill County.

POTTSVILLE, Pa. — Folks in Schuylkill County made their final preparations Thursday night, before the first significant snowfall this winter.

Many were surprised it's taken this long.

Shovels, scrapers, and salt were flying off the shelves at Centre Street Hardware in Pottsville, a few hours ahead of the snowstorm.

The Williams family comes to the store from Shenandoah every winter, claiming the salt supplies are the cheapest they can find.

"That's how I usually do it," James Williams said. "We keep so much, and then when we need it again, we come down and get more."

Owner Jason Brown expects this rush before the first snowfall of the winter.

The stacks of 50-pound bags have been shrinking throughout the day.

"We've sold a lot already, " he said. "We sold a couple pallets today. Supply is good on that."

Snowblower season is almost upon us, and Brown said if people weren't coming in to get a new one, they were coming in to get their old one repaired.

"People trying to get snowblowers running and a couple last-minute repairs," he said.

Brown said new snowblowers are back-ordered and have been hard to come by.

Centre Street Hardware was down to just one until the few on display outside the store arrived about a week ago.

The business has been stocked with winter supplies since late October but didn't anticipate the snow holding off this long.

"You don't know when it's going to happen. It's awfully late this year," Brown said. "We've been pretty lucky so far. Everybody waits to the last minute to get what they need."

The Williams' are ready to go.

"We have the shovels out in the hall already," James Williams said.

So are PennDOT crews.

Press Officer Sean Brown said major roads have been pretreated, and PennDOT plows will be on the move.

"We will be out there through the storm," Sean Brown said. "Even though we hit a lot of our major highways first, we get all state roadways, the secondary roads, and the smaller roadways will be addressed throughout the storm."

Press Officer Brown said crews are prepared with all the necessary supplies. He asks drivers to stay off the roads during and immediately after the storm, if possible.

Check out severe weather tips on WNEP’s YouTube channel.