Re-freeze causes black ice concern during morning commute; Wind chills near 0

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PITTSBURGH - Unlike the past few days, Thursday should be relatively quiet despite a black ice concern during the morning commute.

Severe Weather Team meteorologist Valerie Smock said the biggest change will be noticeably colder temperatures, as wind chills stay at or around zero. 

Overnight, anything that may have melted on Wednesday likely re-froze, causing slick and icy areas on many roadways.

 No major accidents were reported, however.

 Wind chill readings will be in the single digits and the high will only reach 22 degrees, Smock said.

 Friday will remain dry but the cold temperatures won’t budge, as wind chills stay near zero.

 Severe Weather Team 11 is tracking another storm system expected to arrive this weekend. Smock said snow will begin falling in the area Saturday night , with a possible 2 to 4 inches of fresh snow on the ground by the end of the weekend. 


SALT SUPPLIES LOW:

In Allegheny County, communities such as Shaler Township are low on salt.  Crews focused on hills and intersections Wednesday.

All of Westmoreland County is dealing with a salt shortage.

"You have to realize that you're not going to see bare roads all the time, especially right after a snow storm," said Dan Stevens of Westmoreland County Public Safety.

Pittsburgh crews are more confident about their snow removal plans and salt supply.

Channel 11 reporter Jennifer Tomazic talked to Pittsburgh’s new Public Works director, Mike Gable.

“We have to watch the weather pattern and see what happens with the rain line, ice line and snow line. Right now, we're feeling confident it’s a normal 1-3 inch storm that we can handle pretty well,” said Gable before Wednesday's storm.

Gable said crews have 4,000 tons of salt on hand right now, which is a sufficient supply for the storm. Sixty vehicles will be ready to go around the clock, Gable added.

“We’re going to take care of our primary streets first. Roads that take people to hospitals and schools are necessary to clean first,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.

One of the many tools used to stay ahead of the storm was PennDOT's Incident Command Center.

“Our center will be watching and monitoring roadway conditions,” Steve Cowan from PennDOT told Channel 11 reporter Pamela Osborne.

More than 200 cameras across southwestern Pennsylvania give dispatchers a heads-up to problem areas.

SNOW/ICE STORM CAUSES POWER OUTAGES ACROSS STATE:

Power is slowly being restored to customers after an ice storm moved through the state and left more than 849,000 Pennsylvania households and businesses without electricity.   

PECO is reporting early Thursday that about 469,000 customers are still without power in the Philadelphia area. That's down from a high total of more than 500,000.   At about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, First Energy is reporting 54,000 customers without electricity, down from 91,000 a day earlier.   

PPL is reporting just over 21,500 customers without power in the 12 counties it serves, down from an earlier high of 56,000.   

Gov. Tom Corbett has signed a disaster emergency proclamation, freeing up state agencies to use all available resources and personnel to respond to Wednesday's storm.

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