PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The bitter cold lingers over Pittsburgh, and now road crews are out and about as another round of snow dusts the area.
It was so cold Monday morning that we almost set a new record low, and now the rivers are starting to turn into chunks of ice. Click here to check out the latest weather conditions.
KDKA Chief Meteorologist Jeff Verszyla says most of the snow will move through during the evening hours until about 2 a.m.
“There’s going to be a very sharp cut-off line to the flurries and snow showers that may be right around or just north of the city of Pittsburgh, which is to say areas north will see little or likely nothing at all while from about the city – an inch, and south of Interstate 70 maybe closer to two inches into northern West Virginia,” he said. “So not a lot of snow and it’s primarily going to occur between now and about 2 o’clock in the morning.
There is a Winter Weather Advisory in effect for Cambria, Greene and Somerset counties until 4 a.m.
“So by wake up [Tuesday] morning, there won’t be much additional remaining, just lingering clouds through the day [Tuesday], not as harsh – temperatures will be in the low to mid-20s and then another cold shot will follow later in the week,” Verszyla said.
Due to the weather, PennDOT canceled scheduled work on the Parkway West Monday night into Tuesday morning. Crews were supposed to work on replacing median barriers and install overhead signs between the Interstate 79 and Greentree interchanges. But the snow and cold temperatures have prompted the cancellation of that work.
Nothing says cold quite like the almost frozen-over rivers in Pittsburgh. And the harsh temperatures are beginning to take a toll on Pittsburghers.
“It’s horrible,” says Sabra Khou, of the city’s Allentown section. “It feels like your face is getting torn off.”
Just walking around outside from one building to another can induce pain.
“It’s my face getting frozen walking, because of the wind,” says Michael Quick, of the city’s Allentown section. “If you don’t cover your face, it’s over.”
“It’s frigid, not as cold as I thought it would be, but it’s pretty frigid out here,” said Kaitlin Green,” of Pittsburgh. “Kind of uncomfortable to walk around.”
But most folks don’t have a choice.
“I think it’s unbearable,” said Marquise White, of the South Side. “You need gloves, scarves, pilot hat; it’s unbearable out here.”
The frigid temperatures are also posing a challenge for road crews as this evening’s snow arrives.
“We’ve got a full surplus of salt, brine, calcium, anti-skid, which is mostly what we’re using now because of the cold temperatures,” Joe Palumbo, PennDOT’s highway foreman. “Everybody is out and right now they’re concentrating mainly on bridge deck, ramps and anything elevated. We do have more people coming out at midnight for round the clock coverage.”
KDKA’s John Shumway Reports:
In the city, they’re prepared as well.
“We always go with rock salt, but we are doing it with the calcium chloride,” said Mike Gable, the director of Pittsburgh Public Works. “We don’t have a lot of aggregate on hand, the anti-skid material, but if we need it, we can get it from PennDOT.”
Road crews say the best thing about tonight’s snow is the timing – early enough that some overnight work should give them time to get the roads in decent shape for Tuesday morning’s rush hour.
The good news is that pasty white look on the roads prior to more snow is a good thing.
“There is still residue down, and when the snow starts coming down, some of that will take effect. Who knows? Maybe this storm will stay south of us and we won’t get too much,” Gable said.
But it’s not just outside; the cold is taking its toll inside local homes as well, on furnaces and pipes.
For the last few days, Jim Link has been living without a vital necessity – water.
“We have no water because it’s way too cold outside. I never saw it like this before,” says Link.
Link’s water pipes froze quickly when temperatures dropped to single digits over the weekend. His apartment is over a garage and there’s not enough heat to protect his water pipes from the extreme cold.
KDKA’s Bob Allen Reports:
But that’s going to change thanks to something called the heat cable.
“We’re wrapping a 45-degree temperature heat cable around the copper pipes to keep them warm,” said Bill Kasecky, of Martin Heating and Plumbing. “It will keep them warm throughout the whole winter and from freezing.”
The heat cable cost about $80 and can be purchased at any hardware store. It simply plugs into an outlet and will thaw out pipes in 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, 90-year-old John Watkins got a big surprise on one of the coldest nights of the year. His furnace broke down.
“I was sitting here getting an evening snack and I noticed the house began to get a chill,” said Watkins.
Since then, he’s been getting heat from the stove and walking around with a coat on.
“With a coat on, and not shame to say, some long ones, too,” he said.
Fortunately, his old furnace was removed and replaced by a brand new unit. The bitter cold weather has turned furnace repair and installation into a booming business.
“I worked last night until 1 a.m. and I have two more furnace calls to do after this install, it’s been hectic,” said Derrick Johnson, of Martin Heating.
Johnson blames a faulty blower motor. He advises homeowners to get their furnace checked before they’re left out in the cold.