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Here's why your afternoon commute might not be as bad as this morning

Jacob Tierney
| Wednesday, March 21, 2018, 12:40 p.m.
Roads quickly became treacherous early Wednesday as a relentless snowstorm hit. This motorist slid into a guardrail on the Route 28 northbound exit ramp for Tarentum on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.
Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
Roads quickly became treacherous early Wednesday as a relentless snowstorm hit. This motorist slid into a guardrail on the Route 28 northbound exit ramp for Tarentum on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune Review
Road crews throughout the region had a tough time getting ahead of the snowstorm that rolled in late Wednesday, March 21, 2018. Salt trucks are shown loading up in Monroeville.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Road crews throughout the region had a tough time getting ahead of the snowstorm that rolled in late Wednesday, March 21, 2018. Salt trucks are shown loading up in Monroeville.
A pedestrian walks on the Smithfield Street Bridge in Pittsburgh during snow showers Wednesday, March 21, 2018.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
A pedestrian walks on the Smithfield Street Bridge in Pittsburgh during snow showers Wednesday, March 21, 2018.
Vehicles make their way slowly down Rt. 66 near the intersection of Route 22 in Delmont as heavy spring snow blankets Westmoreland County on Wednewday, March 21, 2018.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Vehicles make their way slowly down Rt. 66 near the intersection of Route 22 in Delmont as heavy spring snow blankets Westmoreland County on Wednewday, March 21, 2018.

PennDOT says it deployed the agency's full fleet of plows across Western Pennsylvania to ensure that Wednesday afternoon's rush hours aren't a repeat of the dreaded morning commute .

Mother Nature might have other plans.

Some parts of Western Pennsylvania had received up to 6 inches of snow by 11 a.m. Wednesday. The wintry conditions on the second day of spring contributed to numerous crashes, flight cancellations, school closures and delays along with lengthier commute times.

Allegheny County's major highways were snow-free by late Wednesday morning, said Steve Cowan, spokesman for PennDOT's District 11, which includes Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties. That doesn't mean it will be smooth sailing for afternoon commuters.

“Motorists will want to take care as they're traveling home today. We do expect snow to continue through the afternoon, and heavy bands could coat the roadways,” Cowan said Wednesday.

Snow was expected to stop falling in Allegheny County by mid-afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

Westmoreland County won't be so lucky, National Weather Service meteorologist John Darnley said.

Snow will continue to fall in much of Westmoreland County until about 7 p.m., Darnley said. Some areas, including Greensburg, could see another 4 inches of snow by the end of Wednesday, he said.

The weather service upgraded a weather advisory for Westmoreland County to a winter storm warning.

“Our crews are out there continuously. They're plowing, they're salting and anti-skidding where necessary, and they're out there trying to clear the roadways,” said Valerie Petersen, spokeswoman for PennDOT's District 12, which includes Westmoreland, Washington, Fayette and Greene counties. “Mother Nature is giving us a good show today.”

Petersen said people shouldn't drive unless it's absolutely necessary, and they should exercise extreme caution if they do.

Plow crews probably won't be able to keep roads completely clear, she said.

“(Plow drivers) are doing everything they can to keep the roads passable, but motorists also need to be responsible for their driving,” Petersen said.

Allegheny and Westmoreland counties have a full complement of plow trucks working Wednesday — 65 in Allegheny and 68 in Westmoreland. They will continue to work until after the snow storm passes.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6646, jtierney@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Soolseem.

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