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Snow Comes Fast to Pittsburgh Region

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UPDATED 4:10pm: The first flakes of snow began to fall in the Pittsburgh area a little after 10:00am Friday and the first reports of slippery roads and sidewalks were not far behind.  A winter weather advisory remains in effect for most of southwestern Pennsylvania until 1:00am Saturday. 

The National Weather service is calling for 1-2 inches of accumulation with as much as six inches in the Laurel Highlands where the advisory does not expire until Saturday afternoon. 

Pittsburgh Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski said city plows were out salting secondary streets before the snow hit this morning and then began working the main roads when the snow started to fall.  He said the snow came down so fast that it was hard to stay ahead of it and the heavy traffic prevent the trucks for being as effective as possible.

Kaczorowski says while the pretreating of the secondary streets did not keep the snow from accumulating it helped to keep the snow from bonding with the road so it should be easier to remove the accumulation when crews start to focus on the secondary streets again. 

He said once the snow stops they should be able to have the city cleaned up within 24 hours. 

PennDOT crews were out in force treating the slick highways but were hampered by accidents and traffic congestion on the Parkways according to spokesperson Steve Cowan.  The HOV lanes remained closed during the afternoon commute to allow the plows to concentrate on the main roads. Throughout the afternoon hours, the Parkway West was nearly at a standstill and the Veteran's Bridge was snow covered and slow.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County said as of the beginning of the afternoon rush, the light rail system was doing fine with no reported delays.  However, there were 60-90 minutes delays on the bus routes.  Most of the buses were sticking to their normal routes with a few exceptions including a handful of routes in Polish Hill and the Hill District.

Several school district and other organizations have canceled evening events and some business closed early Friday in an effort to avoid dangerous travel for participants, customers and employees.  Motorists are encouraged to stay off the roads if possible.

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