PITTSBURGH – The National Weather Service Pittsburgh has forecast snow, followed by brutally cold temperatures combined with wind chills throughout the week. Based on the predicted weather, we offer the following tips and information on how the county is preparing for the weather, and how residents can prepare for the extreme cold, deal with it once here, and what can be done afterward.
The Department of Public Works will have trucks out to maintain county roads. As temperatures are below 20 degrees, crews will use liquid calcium with the salt on the roads. Supervisors are monitoring the weather and conditions and will make adjustments to schedules and routes as appropriate.
Winter driving can be hazardous. According to the National Weather Center, 70% of snow and ice-related injuries occur in automobiles. Drivers should expect to encounter slick roads and there may be reduced visibility due to blowing snow. They should also be aware of the possibility of black ice, which is difficult to see and makes roads very slippery, particularly on bridges and overpasses. Drivers are encouraged to drive according to the conditions, leaving extra space between their vehicle and the ones in front of them, and to give salt trucks plenty of room to navigate and treat the roads.
Prepare your vehicle for winter, like you do your home. Check or have checked antifreeze, brakes, heater and defroster, tires and windshield wipers. Keep your gas tank at least half full. Keep an extra emergency kit specifically created for your car in the vehicle. Consider adding a portable cell phone charger, ice scraper, extra blanket, sand for traction, and jumper cables.
If stranded/stuck on a road, make smart decisions about whether to stay or go. You should stay to avoid exposure and/or when rescue is likely. You should stay if a safe location is neither nearby or visible. Stay if you do not have appropriate clothing to go outside, or if you do not have the ability to call for help.
Although temperatures are expected to remain low, with wind chills making the temperatures feel even lower, the Department of Emergency Services does not currently have plans to open warming centers. Those decisions are typically made by individual municipalities at the discretion of the local emergency management coordinator. In the event that there are power outages or other circumstances that impact a number of residents, that information will be provided to the media and shared on the county’s social media channels.