Pennsylvania state police reported on Wednesday that the death toll from an 80-vehicle pileup on a Pennsylvania highway Monday has risen to six people. Police also said 80 vehicles were involved in the crash — 39 commercial and 41 passenger vehicles — up from previous estimates of more than 50. The crash also injured 24 people, who were taken to hospitals.
The crash occurred around 10:30 a.m. Monday after a snow squall blinded drivers and led to the crash on Interstate 81 near Minersville, about 100 miles northwest of Philadelphia. A snow squall is described as ‘an intense, short-lived burst of heavy snowfall accompanied by gusty wind.’ While snow squalls typically only last about an hour and might only leave behind a moderate amount of snow, they can create deadly highway conditions, suddenly reducing visibility for drivers and causing slick roads.
Police reopened the interstate just after midnight Wednesday, according to a tweet from Pennsylvania State Police spokesman David Beohm. Snowy conditions and fires initially made it difficult for emergency services to access the scene. The road was already covered with snow prior to the squall and the pileup, making driving conditions even worse.
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