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Sewickley areas schools closed, local warming centers opened

| Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, 3:12 p.m.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Two girls, bundled up against the elements, walk along Broad Street in Sewickley after school on Monday, Jan. 6, 2013. The temperature at the time was 8º with a wind chill of minus 11 degrees.

With temperatures setting record lows Tuesday morning, Sewickley Valley schools closed and warming centers opened.

Quaker Valley will close for a second consecutive day Wednesday, district spokeswoman Tina Vojtko said Tuesday night in an e-mail.

“Frigid temperatures have resulted in issues with the diesel fuel used by school buses,” she said. “The district cannot risk leaving students stranded at bus stops or on buses that have stalled in these dangerously cold temperatures.”

As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sewickley Academy and nearby Moon Area School District remained on a two-hour delay for Wednesday.

Sewickley Valley YMCA, 625 Blackburn Road, will offer space as a warming center for those in need, CEO Trish Hooper said.

“It's open to anybody in the area who finds themselves in a situation where they're not in a heated place — whether their furnace broke (or) they lost heat,” she said.

The center will operate during regular business hours Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, she said. Those who need the warming center do not have to be members of the YMCA.

“It's plenty of time for folks who are waiting for a repairman to come fix the furnace,” she said.

Hooper said YMCA staff have worked with local municipal leaders to help spread the word to those who might be in need.

The warming center will use space usually reserved for teen programming.

“We figured that the kids wouldn't be in school,” Hooper said. “This is a great way to provide a service to the community.

“As long as our heat is still working, we're willing to share it with the folks in the community who need it.”

In addition, Leetsdale Borough's community room, 373 Beaver St., is open through 6 p.m. Tuesday as a warming center, an Allegheny County spokeswoman said.

The Sewickley Public Library will remain open Tuesday, Director Carolyn Toth said.

“Everyone is welcome to warm up in the library and to charge their electronic devices should there be a loss of power,” she said.

Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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