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Pittsburgh To Get White Christmas, Says National Weather Service

Alexander Richard
Highland Park snowman "Alfred," Dec. 19, 2020.

Snowy weather and hazardous roads, in addition to the pandemic, are likely to interfere with this week's holiday celebrations.

TheNational Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning, starting at 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. Between 4 and 6 inches of snow could accumulate in the Pittsburgh area; parts of Ohio and Western Virginia might get as much as a foot.

Earlier on Christmas Eve, much of western Pennsylvania saw rain. The NWS reports precipitation will turn to snow, with the heaviest snowfall occurring after 8 pm, and continuing overnight. The snow is projected to let up in the early afternoon of Christmas Day.

The city of Pittsburgh says it will deploy 24 salt trucks as soon as the snow starts.

“Pretreating the roadways with salt is not an option because of the rain,” said Allegheny County Public Works Director Stephen G. Shanley in a press release.

Due to rapidly dropping temperatures and the possibility of blowing snow, Shanley warned of “challenging conditions for drivers.”

“We recommend that drivers slow down, avoid sudden stops, increase following distance, and be on the lookout for slick spots, especially on bridges and ramps,” he said.

In a news release from Gov. Wolf's office, the head of the state's emergency management agency said people should not travel unless it's "critical" that they do so.

"If you must travel, you need to have emergency supplies in your car in the event roadways become impassable," said PEMA Director Randy Padfield.

Sarah Boden covers health and science for 90.5 WESA. Before coming to Pittsburgh in November 2017, she was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio. As a contributor to the NPR-Kaiser Health News Member Station Reporting Project on Health Care in the States, Sarah's print and audio reporting frequently appears on NPR and KFF Health News.