National Guard sent to rescue drivers stuck overnight on Pennsylvania turnpike

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Philadelphia's Snow Covered, Windy Streets

Dozens of drivers were stranded on the Pennsylvania Turnpike overnight on Friday into Saturday morning after getting caught in a potentially historic snow storm blanketing the East Coast from Washington to New York.

The National Guard was sent out to help local police clear roadways, but it could be hours before all of the motorists are on their way.

Those traveling in south western Pennsylvania near Somerset and Bedford saw the major highway come to a standstill late Friday night. Drivers were urged to stay off the road, with Pennsylvania authorities reporting that two feet of snow had piled up in some parts of the turnpike in the early hours of Saturday. Parts of the region are expected to see up to 30 inches of snow before the storm is over.

Click through images of the storm here:

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National Guard sent to rescue drivers stuck overnight on Pennsylvania turnpike
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 23: Glen Eck (C), attempts to put chains on his tire while his car is stuck in a snow drift on January 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The city is under a snow emergency, is expected to get over 18 inches of snowfall, along with much of the Mid Atlantic States. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 23: Glen Eck attempts to put chains on his tire while his car is stuck in a snow drift on January 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The city is under a snow emergency, is expected to get over 18 inches of snowfall, along with much of the Mid Atlantic States. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 23: Glen Eck walks to get help after his car got stuck in a snow drift on January 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The city is under a snow emergency, is expected to get over 18 inches of snowfall, along with much of the Mid Atlantic States. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
People walk along Pennsylvania Avenue during a snow storm in Washington on January 22, 2016. Thousands of flights were cancelled and supermarket shelves were left bare Friday as millions of Americans hunkered down for a winter storm expected to dump historic amounts of snow in the eastern United States. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A man rides his bike along Pennsylvania Avenue during a snow storm in Washington on January 22, 2016. Thousands of flights were cancelled and supermarket shelves were left bare Friday as millions of Americans hunkered down for a winter storm expected to dump historic amounts of snow in the eastern United States. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: A snowplow cleans up snow on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the U.S. Capitol January 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. A winter snowstorm is forecasted for the East Coast this weekend with prediction of up to 30 inches of snow for the DC area. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
A woman walks down Pennsylvania Avenue during a snowstorm in Washington January 22, 2016. Thousands of flights were cancelled and supermarket shelves were left bare Friday as millions of Americans hunkered down for a winter storm expected to dump historic amounts of snow in the eastern United States. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 23: A car is stuck in a snow drift during early morning hours as snow continues to fall on January 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The city is under a snow emergency, is expected to get over 18 inches of snowfall, along with much of the Mid Atlantic States. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
A man maneuvers his Push cart with passengers during a snowstorm early Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Most of the state was facing a blizzard warning from Friday evening until Sunday that called for up to 24 inches of snow, with the deepest accumulations in the central part of the state. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
People walk across Broad Street during a snowstorm, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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But despite early warnings from authorities to stay off the road, some drivers took their chances and were caught out in the storm on Friday night.

Many tweeted photos from the turnpike, with some describing being stranded on the road for upwards of 12 hours.

Duquesne University's Men's Basketball team were among those stuck on the road. By 9 a.m., the team had spent around 12 hours stuck in the same spot on the road. Photos from the turnpike show dozens of other buses in the same predicament.

But the team, and other drivers on the road, seemed to be making the best of the unfortunate situation.

Shannon Lawlor, one of those stuck on the turnpike, told Mashable she was still on a bus on the road at 9:45 a.m. She was on one of seven coach buses coming back from an anti-abortion demonstration in Washington the previous day on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

"We left around 4:30 p.m. As the snow progressed, we began to pull over and clean off our windshield wipers," Lawlor told Mashable in a message. "We eventually came to a screeching halt around 11 p.m. last night due to a four car pile up a couple of miles down the road."

Her bus was still waiting to be cleared on Saturday morning.

"Tow trucks and ambulances kept on getting stuck trying to clear up the accidents ahead of us. we [sic] ended up sleeping on the bus over night and got word around 7:30 this morning that the National Guard is on their way," said Lawlor.

Pennsylvania was not the only state seeing traffic snarls and transportation woes as a result of the storm. Several states along the east coast prepared for the storm by issuing states of emergency and warning drivers to stay off the road.

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