At least three people died and over a dozen were injured in a snow storm on Monday in Pennsylvania.

Video footage of the crash on Interstate 81 shows passengers and drivers lining up on the slippery road to avoid the accident. As a series of other crashes unfolds, the videos show the cars colliding with each other.

Dr. David J. Moylan was the Schuylkill County Coroner. He said that three deaths had been confirmed as of late afternoon. This number could increase because firefighters were having difficulty rescuing people.

One video shows a tractor-trailer that was out of control colliding with a large dump truck, turning it almost 180 degrees. Another truck caught on fire and spewed black smoke. A passenger car was struck by an SUV, sending it spinning narrowly past the person who stood on the shoulder covered in fog and snow.

The speed at which road conditions change was evident in video mounted to the dash of the vehicle. The driver was standing in front of a stationary vehicle, which rose up like a wall. A person walking on the road stretched out their arms and tried to flee the vehicle. The sound of thunder was heard when the impact occurred.

According to the Schuylkill County Office of Emergency Management, the accident in northeast Pennsylvania occurred around 10:30 AM Monday. John Blickley, deputy coordinator for emergency management at the agency, stated that officials believe that a snow storm clouded visibility, which likely contributed to the crash.

The number of vehicles involved in the accident were estimated by the state police and emergency management agency at 40-60, which includes multiple tractor trailers. Blickley stated that around 20 patients were transported to local hospitals by emergency workers from four counties. He said that three tractor trailers with unknown cargo caught on fire by emergency workers arrived. Other smaller vehicles also caught on fire.

David Beohm, a Pennsylvania State Police Trooper, stated Monday afternoon that the fires had delayed a thorough investigation.

Boehm stated that fire units were present on the scene with a steady stream water tanker fleet because the crash was “in the middle nowhere” and there is no fire hydrant nearby.

He said that the highway was covered in snow when the snow squall arrived.

He said, “All it takes to hit something is one person, and then you have to pull over off the road. But, if you drive at highway speed, this what happens.”

The “walking wounded”, those whose cars were involved in the accident, and others were taken to Wegman’s distribution centre in an industrial park nearby the crash. A reunification center was also set up at Goodwill Fire Company No. Minersville 1 for people who want to meet their relatives or arrange accommodation.

The National Weather Service warned of “numerous short heavy snow squalls with very low visibility.”

Forecasters stated that “the squalls” would quickly reduce visibility to less than one-half mile and cover roads with snow. They advised drivers to stay off the road or to turn on hazard lights. “And gradually slow down to avoid a chain reaction vehicular collision.”

Mike Colbert is a National Weather Service forecaster in State College. He said that the weather service began issuing warnings about snow squalls several years ago because of pileups like the one being reported.

“They are heavy snow showers that can turn your skies from partially cloudy to sunny in seconds. He said that they are dangerous because of this.