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More snow in the forecast for McKeesport and surrounding areas

| Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, 12:12 a.m.
McKeesport public works employee watches as foreman Jeff DiPerna dumps newly delivered salt into a city truck Friday in advance of a weekend storm.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
McKeesport public works employee watches as foreman Jeff DiPerna dumps newly delivered salt into a city truck Friday in advance of a weekend storm. Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News

McKeesport and the rest of the Mon-Yough area await snow on Saturday, as part of a second winter storm in four days.

“I have about 700 tons (of salt) and I ordered (200) more,” McKeesport public works director Nick Shermenti said.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. for an area from Salem, Ohio, to Ligonier, and from Weirton, W.Va., to Punxsutawney.

AccuWeather expected the snow to arrive by 5, with an inch possible by dawn and 1-3 more during the day.

The latest storm is following the path but not the intensity of Wednesday's storm toward the East Coast. Still, forecasters said up to 6 inches may fall by 7 p.m. in higher elevations south and east of Ligonier.

Farther east, 3-5 inches are predicted by Saturday night in Central Pennsylvania.

PennDOT advises motorists to keep tabs on travel conditions by dialing 511 or seeing www.511pa.com.

Shermenti said city streets were clear after Wednesday's snow but a short turnaround hampered his 10-man crew.

“We really don't have much time to maintain and do the repairs on the equipment that needs to be done,” Shermenti said. “That sort of puts you behind the eight ball.”

One truck's plow mechanism “probably won't be ready over the weekend,” he said, “but we have a couple backup trucks that we can put out.”

There hasn't been much overtime this year for city crews, but Wednesday's snow meant calling in crews at holiday pay rates Christmas night.

Also, area communities had extended 2011-12 salt contracts because of a mild winter.

“We had to purchase 400 tons of salt that we didn't need but we had to go to purchase our minimum,” Shermenti said. “At the same time it gave me an overabundance of salt at last year's prices.”

Salt hadn't been needed much so far in this snow season.

“Usually we're getting hit after Halloween and right before Thanksgiving with at least one storm and between Thanksgiving and Christmas we usually have one or two storms,” Shermenti said.

The city is broken into seven zones, one for each city truck.

“We do the emergency routes first, the schools, the hospitals and the routes for the buses and the emergency vehicles, then we do the secondary streets and then we do the alleys,” Shermenti said. “So I ask people to be patient.”

Emergency routes include Lysle, O'Neil and Eden Park boulevards, Versailles and E. and W. Fifth avenues and Walnut and Evans streets. The routes include schools, fire stations and UPMC McKeesport.

Fifth Avenue between Walnut and Evans is regarded as a secondary road.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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