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W.Pa. one icy storm away from getting a reprieve from winter

| Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, 3:40 p.m.
Marissa Gazda, 13, of Baden, goes head-first on her modified snow shovel as she rides down a 160-foot hill during the Beaver County Snow Shovel Riding Championship at Old Economy County Park, in Economy Borough, Saturday, January 26th, 2013. About 50 people took part in the competition, which was celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Garek McMahen, 3, of Derry peers from around an ice sculpture during the Ice Festival on Saturday, January 26, 2013, on the Diamond in Ligonier. Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review

Tired of the snow? Don't worry, it'll be gone by Tuesday, though the region likely will have to deal with one more round of bad weather before a significant warmup arrives.

A weeklong cold snap will end within the next couple of days, according to the National Weather Service in Moon, with highs expected in the mid-50s on Tuesday.

But before then, the weather service said, there's a good chance of an ice storm beginning just after midnight Sunday into Monday morning that could cause havoc with the morning rush. Temperatures are expected to warm up through the day Monday, turning the ice to rain.

The region has received about 4 inches of snow since Friday morning.

Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority crews worked Saturday to repair a water main Downtown that broke because of the cold. The 8-inch pipe broke beneath Seventh Avenue, authority spokeswoman Melissa Rubin said. Repairs are expected to be complete by Sunday night. Seventh Avenue will remain closed until then between Liberty Avenue and Smithfield Street, she said.

The break occurred about 11 a.m. Saturday and was related to the cold weather, said Pittsburgh Fire Capt. James O'Connor.

“It started to fill up the basements on both sides of the street,” O'Connor said.

Crews spent several hours pumping water out of the basements of three buildings, including one housing Golden Palace Buffet at the corner of Smithfield and Seventh.

“It was coming in pretty fast,” said Chen Ng, a restaurant employee.

The snow and cold that caused misery for some motorists brought delight to skiers and snowboarders.

“These conditions are just fabulous — the powder, the quantity. This is the weekend we've been waiting on for a long time,” said Anna Weltz, communications manager for Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Somerset County.

Weltz couldn't give specific numbers of patrons, where about 8 inches of snow had fallen by Saturday afternoon, but described turnout as “tremendous.”

Most people were from the Pittsburgh area, but a sizable number came from the Cleveland and Baltimore areas, she said.

Dispatchers in Allegheny, Westmoreland County and Fayette counties reported no serious weather-related incidents into early Saturday afternoon.

Staff writers Rick Wills, Jason Cato and Bob Stiles contributed to this report. Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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