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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With a winter storm bearing down on Pittsburgh, some people are dancing in the streets while others call it a ho-hum storm.

“It doesn’t bother us. We are from Alaska,” says Rudy Frazier.

He was walking his Italian Greyhound near the City-County Building in Downtown Pittsburgh Friday afternoon.

Because of the dog’s short coat, Frazier has the service dog dressed in a light green doggy parka to keep her warm. As for what makes a man from Alaska cold, he says it has to be below zero.

What about snow?

Frazier shrugged, saying, “It’s an inconvenience, but it’s fun.”

Snow and ice may not be a lot of fun for one visitor from southern New Jersey. Joe McKenna is in town for a week, but forgot to pack a winter coat for his trip. He is trying to get by with a hooded sweatshirt, and cringed when he saw the forecast for the weekend.

“When I see it’s that cold, I get scared,” says McKenna, “especially when storms are coming.”

That winter storm also has the attention of the city of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works. It has been a constantly changing forecast that is calling for the possibility of rain, freezing rain, ice, sleet and what could be as much as a foot of snow.

Watch Paul Martino’s report —


Department Director Mike Gable says crews will be on 12-hour shifts starting Saturday afternoon. They will start by putting down rock salt to keep the rain from freezing on the streets. They want to use up the supply of salt they have left from last winter.

Then, as it gets colder, they will move to a Calcium Chloride product; and ultimately, over to a blue-tinted Magnesium Chloride that can melt ice at much lower temperatures.

Plow trucks may be equipped with chains if necessary.

Gable says they have already put some salt on the roads in preparation for the weekend.

“The stuff we put down a couple days ago will be a residual out there. It will give us a head start on the snow that does come down,” said Gable. “Then, our crews will be out there doing everything we can to make it safe and passable for the public.”

One of the biggest challenges the city has is that they don’t know exactly what Pittsburgh is going to get as part of the storm. If it is snow, they treat one way. If it is ice, it is much different. The one advantage of this storm is that it happens to fall on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend.

“It looks like a quick mover as far as I know right now,” says Gable. “By midday Sunday, it looks like it is going to be clearing out of here and that gives us Sunday and Monday to get things cleaned up for Tuesday.”

Public Works crews will work 12-hour shifts and will stay until the work is done.

As for Justin Cogniet, a middle school student from Shaler Township, he can’t wait to go sled riding. He is already decked out in a bright orange hat that covers his entire face — except for three holes cut out for both eyes and his mouth.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

He says it is perfect for winter weekends like this.

“My mom’s friend gave it to me cause I have a lot of asthma,” says Cogniet. “It keeps me really warm. That keeps me from coughing.”

Sounds like he is ready — and the city of Pittsburgh says it is, too.