WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Mother nature threw a curveball right at the start of this complex storm. When snow quickly accumulated before a wintry mix kicked in.

The tricky storm meant PennDOT had to tweak its plan to tackle conditions. Where Route 309 runs parallel to Interstate 81 is the location the roads first became snow-covered at around 10:00 a.m., Thursday morning.

In the evening hours, they’re mainly wet thanks to changing weather conditions and PennDOT is rolling with the punches.

A plow truck became a common sight early in the storm as snow accumulated on state roads within PennDOT’s six-county region of District 4 including Luzerne, Lackawanna, and Wyoming counties.

Even though PennDOT planned for rain at the start, it was ready, evidenced by activity at its storage facility in drums.

“Our biggest thing during any kind of storm event is maintaining situational awareness just because we do have to change our treatment plans on the go, especially when you see those changing conditions,” said Kaitlyn Drumheller, PennDOT’s Acting District 4 Maintenance Engineer.

Unlike recent storms, PennDOT did not pre-treat state roads with brine. Instead, it saved the salty solution for later in the storm and after the rain when conditions turn icy.

“So, we did storm prep ahead of the storm. A lot of it consisted of cleaning drainage and doing that work just because we are going to get a decent amount of rain,” Drumheller added.

But before and after that, trucks load up with salt and anti-skid material from the district’s 44 stockpiles.

At any one time, more than 200 of these PennDOT trucks are out tackling district 4 in Pennsylvania. That requires treating some 8,500 snow lane miles.

Miles that travelers near and far are using to get to their destinations before Christmas weekend.

“We’re driving home in this fun weather,” said Mark Thatcher, a driver from Bloomsburg.

Mark Thatcher and his family were returning to Bloomsburg after a trip to New York City. He encountered wintry conditions when he arrived in Delaware Water Gap in the Poconos.

“Just a little slushy on the roads and I got behind a trucker that I liked; like he seemed to be doing everything right,” Thatcher added.

Eyewitness news asked, “He was blocking for you?” Thatcher replied, “Yeah, you could say that.”

Jill Mislinski stopped to gas up. The Chicago woman is bound for Connecticut for the holidays and is appreciative PennDOT treated some of the routes she’s traveling.

“The roads have gotten better. The highway at least, so,” Mislinksi said.

Earlier Thursday, PennDOT issued reduced speed limits and lane restrictions on some state roads.

Those restrictions have since been lifted.