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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — PennDOT crews were up and running Thursday, trying to keep major roads clear for drivers.

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While the parkways remained mostly wet during the morning rush hour, there were plenty of areas that got a coating of ice.

Ice-coated trees and the cold rain that followed froze on contact, increasing the crustation.

For the road crews that battled rush hour traffic to get those first coats of salt down, the midday rain was little consolation because the temperatures hovered in the zone of concern.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

“Very critical being that freezing is at 32 degrees. Thirty-one is a big difference compared to 33 at the surface temperature,” PennDOT Allegheny County Assistant Manager Dean Schmitt said.

Those temperatures display inside the cab of the PennDOT salt truck.

Schmitt says when those temperatures dip, “they’ll change application rates as needed and it lets them know if they need to get out on their routes or sit tight and monitor the temperatures.”

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PennDOT crews continued to hit the roads into the evening and planned to step up the game if snow arrives.

KDKA’s David Highfield reports from Cranberry Township:


As for the City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Public Works Director Mike Gable said, “We want to have certainly a contingent taking care of the stuff overnight to get us into Friday morning.”

The wintry weather has caused power outages around the region, too. Around 26,000 homes were still in the dark on Thursday night.

At 11 p.m., Penn Power reported more than 15,000 outages. More than 10,000 of them in Butler County, and more than 3,000 in Armstrong County.

Meanwhile, Duquesne Light reported more than 11,000 outages.

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Crews will work through the night to restore the electricity.