PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – The temperature sank into the single digits overnight, and that made for a rough Wednesday morning rush hour commute.
It was cold enough for more than 200 schools, including Pittsburgh Public Schools, to operate under delays as road crews treated major highways for ice and cleared snow from side streets.
KDKA Meteorologist Ron Smiley says temperatures will be slowly warming throughout the day, but we can expect to see more snow later tonight. He says about an inch is possible and most of us will see about a half inch of additional snow.
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“Snow could start as soon as 9 p.m. with best chance for accumulation occurring before 1 a.m.,” he said. “[Thursday morning] rush hour will see flurries with a passing snow shower or two. It will not be the big mess we saw [Tuesday].”
As cold as it was though, a vest and a short-sleeve shirt was enough for Uber driver Chris Mundie on this bitterly cold morning, but others bundled up and braced themselves for the elements.
“I am a native Pittsburgher, so it’s not that bad,” says Mundie.
He says business has been booming because of the cold.
“What normally would be a five-minute walk for people, people are taking rides,” he said. “We noticed yesterday morning was really high demand and today is pretty much the same.
By 8:30 a.m., the temperature had tripled to a balmy 9 degrees, but reports of accidents on the morning drive kept coming in, including a two-vehicle head-on collision in Windgap. Rescue crews walked gingerly so they wouldn’t slip on the ice as they worked to clear up the debris. Then, public works vehicles salted and re-salted Windgap Avenue.
One man had to be cut from the wreckage and transported to Allegheny General Hospital in good condition. A 6-yera-old boy in the vehicle was not hurt.
Motorists across the state were urged to slow down because of ice.
On Tuesday night, Interstate 70 was shut down in Washington County after snow caused several pileups. Portions of Interstate 80 were closed in Clearfield County due to crashes.
A crash involving three tractor-trailers Wednesday morning closed the eastbound side of I-70 in Somerset Township, Washington County.
Later on Wednesday morning, PennDOT lifted the weather-related 45 mph speed limit on Interstates 79 and 80.
PennDOT says they also had to close Route 66 in both direction in Bethel Township, Armstrong County, on Wednesday morning. They had some downed utilities there and hoped to have the road back open around 1 p.m.
Over in Somerset County, the westbound lanes of the Turnpike from Breezewood to New Stanton were closed for nearly eight hours on Tuesday.
Police say the crash happened when a commercial car carrier and a FedEx truck were driving side-by-side. When a snow squall made it difficult to see, both trucks stopped to avoid hitting one another. But they were then rear-ended by another vehicle starting a series of chain-reaction crashes that stretched for about two-tenths of a mile.
The car carrier, FedEx truck and a passenger vehicle caught fire. In all, 11 commercial vehicles and five passenger vehicles wrecked. But police say there were no major injuries reported.
As for Mundie, with or without a coat, he says he will be ready to take people home from work this afternoon.
“I was just out on a little break,” he said. “Most of the time, I spend the mornings in the car where it is nice and warm.”
Allegheny County Emergency Services is offering some tips and reminders for staying safe in the cold weather. First, if you have to go outside, bundle up. Also, check on your neighbors, bringing in your pets, allow your faucets to drip and prepare an emergency kit.
City of Pittsburgh officials also opened the four Citiparks Senior Healthy Active Living Centers Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. as warming shelters. Here’s the list of the shelters:
· Greenfield at 745 Greenfield Ave.
· Homewood at 7321 Frankstown
· Sheraden at 720 Sherwood Ave.
· South Side at 12th St. & 1 Bedford Square
There are two warming shelters also open in Westmoreland County:
Welcome Home Shelter
218 S Maple Ave.
Greensburg, Pa. 15601
Phone: (724) 838-9133
2217 Harrison Ave.
Latrobe, Pa. 15650
Phone: (724) 539-3550
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