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Old 02-04-2014, 01:21 PM
 
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Generally the snow-no snow divide in PA, MD, and northern WV is an elevational feature known as the Allegheny Front. The higher elevations west of the Allegheny Front extract snow from moisture-laden winds coming off the Great Lakes. The lower elevations east of the Allegheny Front get less snow from the prevailing westerly winds.

With respect to the major highway corridors:

I-80: More snow in Clearfield/Snow Shoe; less snow in Milesburg/Bellefonte. (Although I-80 has a secondary snow catching higher elevation area between the Jersey Shore and Mile Run exits, or between Bellefonte and Lewisburg.)
US 22: More snow in Johnstown/Cresson; less snow in Hollidaysburg/Altoona.
I-70/76-PA Turnpike: More snow in Somerset; less snow in Bedford.
I-68: More snow in Frostburg; less snow in Cumberland.
US 50: More snow in Oakland/Mt Storm; less snow in Keyser/Romney/Moorefield.

Also, the Allegheny Front is currently the eastern/southeastern limit of the shale gas development. The rock layers are more tilted east of this feature, making them harder to drill and to frack (and also more likely that the gas was already "cooked out" by natural processes). Basically the only gas wells east of the Front are either directly east of it accessing the rock layers underneath; or in an area called the Broad Top (where Bedford, Fulton, and Huntingdon counties meet) where the rocks briefly flatten out again. Bituminous coal mining (historic and current) is likewise all west of the Front - and in the Broad Top.
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Old 02-04-2014, 05:35 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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But eastern PA gets hammered by snow when cold air is in place and moisture comes up from the south east of the mountains.
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Old 02-05-2014, 08:41 AM
 
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Let's put it this way - my in-laws in Bedford County think a snow blower is a leaf blower.
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Old 02-05-2014, 02:00 PM
 
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Western PA has a much lower cost of living compared to eastern PA.
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Old 02-05-2014, 03:28 PM
 
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Hi all, Apologies for the slow response. I've been busy the past couple of days with errands so I haven't had a chance to check this thread as frequently as I'd like. Thanks for the clarifications regarding snow amounts and locations throughout Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It sounds like snow is just something I'll have to keep dealing with if I choose to live in Pennsylvania. With regards to the issue of shale gas development; there seems to be a lot of debate throughout the internet on whether such development has health impacts on the local water supply. Does anyone have any firsthand accounts on this issue? I'd hate to move somewhere only to find that the water isn't safe to drink. Thank you!
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Old 02-05-2014, 04:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fisher55 View Post
Hi all, Apologies for the slow response. I've been busy the past couple of days with errands so I haven't had a chance to check this thread as frequently as I'd like. Thanks for the clarifications regarding snow amounts and locations throughout Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It sounds like snow is just something I'll have to keep dealing with if I choose to live in Pennsylvania. With regards to the issue of shale gas development; there seems to be a lot of debate throughout the internet on whether such development has health impacts on the local water supply. Does anyone have any firsthand accounts on this issue? I'd hate to move somewhere only to find that the water isn't safe to drink. Thank you!
Then you don't want to move to West Virginia, which is a pretty corrupt state and has lax/un-enforced regulations regarding these matters. You may have seen on the news their recent chemical spill into the drinking water of Charleston, WV.
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Old 02-05-2014, 04:12 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fisher55 View Post
Hi all, Apologies for the slow response. I've been busy the past couple of days with errands so I haven't had a chance to check this thread as frequently as I'd like. Thanks for the clarifications regarding snow amounts and locations throughout Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It sounds like snow is just something I'll have to keep dealing with if I choose to live in Pennsylvania. With regards to the issue of shale gas development; there seems to be a lot of debate throughout the internet on whether such development has health impacts on the local water supply. Does anyone have any firsthand accounts on this issue? I'd hate to move somewhere only to find that the water isn't safe to drink. Thank you!

Opinions, and studies, on fracking are all over the place. Many of the anti ones are pushed by environmental groups while many of the pro ones by industry groups.

I grew up in the part of NWPA which had strip (surface) coal mining and gas wells, both traditional and fracked. Strip mining ruined way more water, and caused loss of wells, than gas exploration. By orders of magnitude (with gas being almost zero).


Water wells-300 to 1000 feet
Fracked wells-15000 feet

I worked on one fracked well that was at 12000.
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Old 02-05-2014, 04:29 PM
 
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I think the shale gas development is less likely than coal mining to foul water supplies. The key element generally is the quality of the seal as the drill bore passes through the aquifer. PA regulations are a bit deficient in this regard IMHO - in siting setbacks and in inspecting this critical element. They did correctly suspend surface discharges of flowback and produced water which will become more of an issue as the field matures and frackwater recycling becomes unable to consume this stream. Also certainly there are more incidental spills and accidents associated with the shale gas development than if there weren't significant industrial activities in rural areas.

The well pads and pipelines increase edge habitat for deer and some other species but the fragmentation impacts some non game species negatively. I'd say the shale gas development doesn't do anything positive for fishing. The housing for gas workers has caused rents to rise in small towns in and close to the shale area as well. Finally, although it does snow anywhere across PA, snow is more frequent and longer lasting in the shale areas.

PA (continuing into MD and WV) does offer an arc-shaped zone where small towns aren't as priced up by either the shale or by creeping suburbanization from the megalopolitan BosWash corridor. From Berwick to Lewistown to Bedford to Cumberland to Romney, even in areas where rural land is priced up by metropolitan hunters or younger sons of Amish/Mennonites, rents and modest homes remain relatively affordable. It does snow in these areas, but not quite as often or as much as areas to the north and west (or as much as it sometimes does when coastal storms hit the east and south). Plus houses in town are less apt to be vandalized than remote hunting cabins.

Generally State Game Land (called Wildlife Management Areas in MD and WV), State Forest land, and fishing streams are often accessible. There are often still big crowds on the "first day of trout" or the first day of rifle deer season, but those dissipate faster than they used to as hunting and fishing are relatively declining activities even here.
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Old 02-05-2014, 04:42 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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As Ki0eh mentioned, rents have gone up in the gas areas but housing prices not really. Even rents are now starting to come down in the areas which were developed first. The well drillers have moved on and the wells are now in maintenance mode, which can be handled by the residents already there (well, with training).
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:04 PM
 
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It seems that a bit of NW PA has kind of been skipped over by the drillers for the moment - the area from Potter County down into Clearfield (possibly others) has some wells, but not the intense development of the central Northern Tier (dry gas closer to market) or SW PA (the wet gas with liquids worth refining and transporting). The snow doesn't skip over the area but such locations as Brockway, Ridgway, and Coudersport are hardly drilling boomtowns.
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