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The holiday storm is here: Flights canceled, power outages, roads closed, school interrupted

The National Weather Service reported rapidly dropping temperatures and blizzard-like conditions in the Pittsburgh area Friday, warning drivers of rapidly dropping road temperatures.

Seventy flights had been canceled at Pittsburgh International Airport as of 6 p.m.; 87 were delayed. You can check the status of your flight here.

Allegheny County started salting roads at 3 a.m. and said every road should've been salted at least twice by 11 a.m., according to a county spokesperson. Roads will continue to be salted all day but officials warned that they will often freeze again in the couple of hours it can take to return.

Duquesne Light was reporting almost 15,000 power outages by 8:30 a.m; that number dropped to around 2,500 by 6 p.m. PennPower is reporting more than 1,000 power outages in Allegheny County, also as of 6 p.m.

The city of Pittsburgh opened four emergency warming centers because the high temperatures today will drop well below the 20 degree threshold for opening them.

  • Homewood Healthy Active Living Community Center will be open until at least 8 p.m. to accommodate residents with a power outage.
  • Sheraden Healthy Active Living Community Center will be open until 7 p.m.
  • Brighton Heights Healthy Active Living Community Center will be open until 4 p.m.
  • South Side Market House Healthy Active Living Community Center will open until 4 p.m.

The city is looking for additional volunteers to extend the hours if needed.
Allegheny County has a list of other municipalities that have opened up warming centers.

Pittsburgh Public Schools closed preemptively because of the storm. Mt. Lebanon School District reported that a power outage could impact remote learningfor students today because its data center was forced to work off of a generator.

As WESA previously reported, trash pickups in the city of Pittsburgh scheduled for today will instead be picked up on Monday.

Although the rapid temperature drop today may feel extreme but you should've been around for the storms in 1895, 1907 and, especially, 2014, according to the weather service.

Here are some tips for staying safe.

Oliver Morrison is a general assignment reporter at WESA. He previously covered education, environment and health for PublicSource in Pittsburgh and, before that, breaking news and weekend features for the Wichita Eagle in Kansas.