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Snow, freezing rain make travel treacherous in Western Pa.

| Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, 6:25 a.m.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Dan Errico braves the harsh elements to walk his Newfoundlands Boomer (left) and Dinah on an icy Pacific Avenue in Brackenridge on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Emergency crews work at the scene of a pickup truck that went over the guardrail and into a creek shortly after 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, along Crawford Run Road in East Deer. Police said the driver, Dameian A. Kelty, was uninjured.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Rich Thomas uses his snowblower to clear sidewalks along Ridge Avenue in Coraopolis on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
The Pittsburgh skyline is framed with icy trees against the winter sky as a storm moves through the region on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Hugh Rumbaugh gets some help with the snow shoveling from his son, Conor, 4, on Carlisle Street in Harrison on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
The Honus Wagner statue at PNC Park Wednesday morning, Feb. 5, 2014.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
A pedestrian crosses an ice-covered lot Wednesday morning, Feb. 5, 2014, near Heinz Field.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Craig McMurray of the Mexican War Streets clears snow and ice from his car on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
An emergency medical first responder tends to the female driver of a car involved in a weather-related accident in the s-bends of I-79 North on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
An iron deer statue in West Park is covered in ice on the North Side on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
A city of Pittsburgh Public Works plow removes snow along North Avenue in the North Side on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Ice-covered branches of a dormant bush in Homewood on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Earnestine Watts-Joslin of Dormont is enveloped by steam while she shovels her front steps on Pioneer Avenue on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Thick ice weighs on tree branches in West Park in the North Side Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Riders wait in the North Side T Station Wednesday morning, Feb. 5, 2014, after a disruption in service.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
John Czapor 37, of Manorville clears the steps at the Manorville Methodist Church on Water Street on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Frank Shaffer of Adrian plows Vern Cogley's driveway along Clearfield Pike on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
An Allegheny County snow plow clears the road in Boyce Park on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Barbra Carney of Kittanning digs her car out of the snow on Jacob Street on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
Evan Sanders | Tribune-Review
A pedestrian travels past an ice-encrusted railing on Grandview Avenue in Mt. Washington on Wednesday, February 5, 2014.

A storm that delivered a nasty mix of snow, ice and freezing rain on Wednesday downed power lines, disrupted public transit and further strained the region's salt supply.

“We stocked up, so we're good for now, but if winter keeps up like this, we'd be out in two weeks,” said Mark Turcell, whose Ross-based Steel City Landscape plows commercial properties, including Station Square and The Mall at Robinson. “The government gets their salt from the suppliers first. I ordered over 1,500 tons, but right now, I can't get any.”

Weather forecasters say some relief from precipitation may be in sight, at least Thursday and Friday. Snow showers were expected Wednesday night but not again until Saturday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Brad Rehak. Thursday's forecast is partly sunny with a high of 22 degrees.

That's good news for private plowers, who are hoping for salt shipments this week.

“Salt is getting tight, and it's getting hard to find,” said Blair Cress, owner of 20/20 Landscaping in Crafton.

State officials said nothing in their contract demands they come first.

“I think it boils down to, under the terms of the contract, (state officials) have to receive the shipment within seven days. The suppliers have to meet their contractual obligations,” said Troy Thompson, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of General Services.

“We try to balance the needs of all our customers,” said Morton Salt spokeswoman Denise Lauer. “Generally speaking, our customer orders for road salt have surged this season due to the continued cold weather and snow events across the country.”

The snow- and rain-free forecast is welcome news to the Port Authority of Allegheny County, which experienced major disruptions to the T light-rail service on Wednesday because of ice on the overhead lines.

Commuters who drive had their own problems.

“I had a hard time getting out of my parking lot this morning,” said Bobby Muto, 67, who lives in a Leetsdale high-rise. “There's a decent amount of snow, but the ice on top is the real problem. The main roads aren't bad, but some of the side roads are dangerous.”

In Southeastern Pennsylvania, PECO was working to restore power to more than 500,000 customers. Some people might not get their electricity back until the weekend, Gov. Tom Corbett said. He signed an order allowing state agencies to waive certain procedures in order to respond more quickly to the storm.

The Associated Press contributed. Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or

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