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Pittsburgh, Allegheny County officials brace for frigid temperatures in area

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By Bobby Kerlik

Published: Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, 11:03 a.m.

As the temperature dropped on Monday, schools and government offices closed and emergency responders increased call priorities and opened warming centers.

The National Weather Service in Moon said temperatures would bottom out at minus-12 degrees on Tuesday between 5 and 6 a.m., with wind chills of minus-25 to minus-35.

“There is potential for problems, especially with the elderly and the homeless,” said Dr. Tom Campbell, chairman of emergency medicine at Allegheny General Hospital.

Police and firefighters will assist paramedics responding to 911 calls to make sure they arrive quickly and safely, county Emergency Services Chief Alvin Henderson said.

Pittsburgh opened five warming centers, as did McKeesport, Munhall and Shaler.

Public Safety Director Mike Huss directed police to take homeless people to a shelter at Smithfield United Church of Christ, Downtown.

Several government offices will be closed, as are federal and county courts. People with appointments at county and federal agencies should call ahead.

Pets are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia, “exhibited by lethargy or disorientation, or they feel cold to the touch,” said Dr. Robin Dutra with Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center in Ohio Township.

Anyone without heat or seeing pets outside and in danger should call the mayor's 311 hotline between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. and 911 at other times, Huss said.

Utility crews restored power to some customers affected by wind that downed lines on Monday morning. Natural gas lines were not affected, said Peoples Natural Gas Co. spokesman Barry Kukovich.

Bobby Kerlik is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Staff writers Margaret Harding and Michael Hasch contributed.




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