PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – After a week of brutally cold temperatures, there’s a different weather concern this weekend as a new winter storm is set to blanket the area in another round of snow.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for 6 a.m. Saturday through 10 p.m.
The NWS says to expect 4 to 7 inches of snow, most of which is expected to fall in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
“The lion’s share of what accumulation we get will occur from about mid-morning through lunchtime and mid-afternoon,” said KDKA Chief Meteorologist Jeff Verszyla. “Then, as we get deeper into the afternoon, things will begin to taper off and end all together, and before all is said and done, there could be some mixing that takes place for areas near and south of Interstate 70.”
He says he expects the accumulation to occur between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
“The temperature will gradually increase into the mid- and upper-teens by wake up [Saturday] morning,” Verszyla said. “Clouds will be on the increase tonight and then [Saturday], temperatures will continue to rise above freezing. We’ll see periods of snow starting in the morning and continuing through the afternoon. That though will end, the snow, by late afternoon and early evening abruptly, making for a quiet Sunday as temperatures then turn a little colder Sunday afternoon.”
All things considered, Saturday shouldn’t be all that bad compared to what the Boston, Massachusetts, area has seen this winter with more than 90 inches of snow, as well as the Snowmagedden storm we saw just five years ago that dumped more than 21 inches on Western Pennsylvania.
Still, road crews are ready.
“We’re looking at about three to six inches of snow [Saturday] in Allegheny County,” PennDOT’s Steve Cowan says. “In the area, we will have a full crew out.”
Three to six, really not a huge deal, and unlike last weekend when we had frigid temperatures, warmer air is headed our way. That means the salt will work a lot better on the snow.
“[Saturday], when the temperatures rise, the salt will be much more effective,” said Cowan, “and we feel we’ll have a much better chance of clearing the roadways effectively.”
But don’t look for salt trucks on the road before the storm. PennDOT says it’s not necessary.
“There is so much salt residue on the roadways right now, there’s no need for pre-treating,” said Cowan.
We’ve seen some snow here and there, but it’s the extreme cold that we’ve been battling for most of February.
When it’s 6, 7, 8, 9 below zero who can tell the difference? And the cold like we had Friday has consequences, like the accidents we saw throughout the morning.
“In some areas what we have is when the sun comes out, it draws moisture out of the ground, those areas tend to ice up,” said Angelo Pampena, the PennDOT manager in Allegheny County.
KDKA’s John Shumway reports:
Pampena believes drivers were lulled into a false sense of security by what appeared to be dry roads.
“If you’re driving the speed limit or above it, it can be very dangerous out there,” he said.
Officials said Sunday that the speed limits on Interstates 70 and 79 through Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties has been reduced to 45 miles per hour.
The frigid temperatures also continue to take a toll on water mains throughout our area.
There was a significant break this morning on the North Side and another on Siebert Road in the North Hills. The water companies say the winter freeze-thaw is tough on aging pipes.
“Just in the last week we’ve treated four or five breaks a day, which is double what we’re use to seeing this time of year,” said Brandon Schubert, of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.
Water mains aren’t the only things failing, so are furnaces, making the heating specialists like Jim Bauer from Wahl Family Heating heroes when they arrive at the door.
“You can’t leave people without heat in this cold; you can have a lot of issues and dangerous conditions,” says Bauer.
By Sunday, though, the temperatures will start to drop again.