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Light snow, below-freezing temperatures make for traffic mess in Western Pa.

Bill Vidonic | Tribune-Review
A car hit a barrier on Route 65 inbound about 8:30 a.m. Saturday just past the Beaver Avenue exit on the North Side. A light coating of snow and freezing temperatures resulted in dozens of traffic accidents, as bridges, overpasses and ramps froze, state police said.

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By Adam Smeltz
Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, 11:16 a.m.

Slick conditions contributed to a slew of minor car crashes on Saturday morning in Allegheny County and points north, but forecasts promise a drier Sunday.

Motorists awoke Saturday to a light snowfall that left icy spots, especially on ramps, overpasses and bridges. State police reported at least 30 crashes across the region, though no serious injuries related to the weather.

“I think a lot of people weren't prepared for snow overnight,” said PennDOT spokesman Jim Struzzi. “Bridges, overpasses and ramps — anything that is elevated — freeze before the roads do. People are driving along, and they don't expect it.”

Pittsburgh police said fender benders in the city began about 6:30 a.m. and eased up within a couple hours as temperatures climbed. Crashes included a couple at the Liberty Bridge and one at the Highland Park Bridge.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said Pittsburgh road crews were prepared for the snow, though he conceded there “were some slick spots.”

“It hit pretty quick,” Ravenstahl said. Police did not report any major injuries in any of the accidents across the city.

Interstate 79 closed between Carnegie and Bridgeville at 7:45 a.m. because of the weather but reopened at 9 a.m., state police said. Struzzi said typical problem areas are I-79, the Parkway North and the Parkway West at Carnegie.

Farther north, police spotted icy conditions on overpasses on state Route 28 in the Kittanning area. They reported a handful of minor crashes but no major accidents there.

Murrysville police said two fender benders occurred Saturday morning, one on North Hills Road and one on Meadowbrook Road, before salt trucks went out. No one was injured, and the vehicles did not need to be towed.

The snowfall reached upward of a half-inch in some areas around Pittsburgh, said National Weather Service meteorologist Lee Hendricks.

Sunday should bring mostly cloudy skies but no more precipitation, he said.

“The winds, thankfully, will be dying down a bit,” Hendricks said.

A storm system on Monday night may deliver rain and snow, and snow showers may materialize on Wednesday morning, too, he said. No significant accumulations are expected. High temperatures this week are forecast around 40 degrees.

“It's going to be a fairly quiet week with temperatures hovering just slightly below normal,” Hendricks said.

Adam Smeltz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5676 or Staff writers Kari Andren, Sandra Skowron and Bill Vidonic contributed to this report.

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