Snowstorm Headed For East Coast Will Likely Bring 2-4 Inches Locally

Jan 22, 2016

City and county officials are preparing for the weekend snowfall.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

As parts of the East Coast brace for the weekend snowstorm and possibly feet of snow, Pittsburgh is only expected to see about 4 inches in the next 24 hours. 

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service said the Pittsburgh region will get about 1 to 2 inches of snow overnight, but it won’t start falling until late.

“For the rest of today (Friday), just a slight chance of some snow this afternoon, nothing that’s really going to impact rush hour at all,” said meteorologist Lee Hendricks. “Highs today will be in the mid-20s. And tonight, after dark, the snow will start across the region. The heavier snow will really start after midnight tonight.”

Hendricks said another 1 or 2 inches could fall in the morning and into the early afternoon Saturday. But by mid-afternoon, only a few flurries are expected and should completely clear up by the evening and into Sunday.

City and Allegheny County officials said Friday morning that they're treating roads and preparing for when the storm hits. City Officials deemed the storm a Level 2, which is the level used when there's 3 to 6 inches of snow expected. 

Pittsburgh Public Works Director Mike Gable said plowing must start at least 32 hours after the snowfall stops. And with more than 100 trucks, they won't be able to get to every area quickly. So they have prioritized primary routes, then will focus on secondary and side roads. 

“We have a fleet of 145 vehicles that have both plows and/or spreaders, of which 133 of those vehicles are available to us," Gable said. "We are expecting more to come online.” 

Areas south of the city will likely see more snow.

Hendricks said Greene and Fayette counties, in addition to some of the eastern ridges, could get between 4 and 8 inches overnight, with another 3 to 5 inches Saturday.  

Allegheny County crews also spent Friday filling up salt trucks and preparing to service county roads, especially south of the city. 

"All of our trucks are loaded with plows and salt," said Allegheny County Public Works Director Stephen Shanley. "So, they'll address it accordingly. If we get a lot of snow, they'll go into plow mode to take care of all the snow. We have 28 trucks on the road with 33 routes."

A stockpile of salt that will be used by Allegheny County crews to treat roads.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Eastern parts of the state, like Philadelphia, are expected to see as much as 18 inches of snow. Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm, so that resources could be delivered to impacted areas. 

If Pittsburgh does get 4 inches of snow by Saturday, the monthly total for snowfall will reach 13 inches, according to Hendricks. And even though Pittsburgh was off to a slow start, earlier in the season, Hendricks said the 30-year average for snowfall in January is 11.5 inches.  

He also had some advice, for those worried about the snowfall this weekend.

“I just like to remind people that if they do have to go out overnight tonight and early tomorrow morning, just be cautious," he said. "Give yourself extra time and don’t rush. There’s no sense in costing yourself any more hazard than what you really need.” 

For live updates, the city also has a snow plow tracker, available here