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Pittsburgh area may dodge worst of storm

Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Dan Colaizzi of Scott Township shops for a snow shovel at Rollier's Hardware in Mount Lebanon Saturday, March 1, 2014.

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By Nicole Chynoweth and Bill Vidonic
Saturday, March 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

A winter storm appeared to change course as it advanced toward Western Pennsylvania and could dump the worst accumulations to the south when it hits Sunday and Monday, forecasters said.

The storm system appeared to be moving farther south on Saturday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Alicia Miller.

The NWS issued a winter storm warning through Monday afternoon.

“Originally we thought it would snow through most of Monday, but it looks like maybe things will be tapering off in the afternoon,” she said.

Allegheny and Westmoreland counties are expected to get 6 to 8 inches. Butler and Beaver are predicted to receive 4 to 6 inches, she said.

“The farther north you go, the less snow there will be,” she said.

In Hempfield, Emergency Management Coordinator Robert G. Gerlach asked motorists to restrict travel to essential reasons. The township's salt supply is not as critical as it was last month, he said, but road crews are conserving.

“We're only applying road treatment materials to hills, dangerous curves and intersections,” he said.

The city plans to have crews working 12- or 16-hour shifts to plow emergency and primary routes when the heavy snow starts falling, said Tim McNulty, spokesman for Mayor Bill Peduto. They will use up to 76 vehicles equipped with plows and salt boxes.

The winter also has led to a shortage of wood pellets. Agway in Mars, Butler County, received a shipment of 22 tons of pellets Thursday, store manager Katie Niklewicz said, and that was sold out by Saturday.

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency will activate its emergency operations center 8 p.m. Sunday to coordinate response to the storm, spokesman Cory Angell said.

Staff writer Alex Nixon and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Nicole Chynoweth and Bill Vidonic are staff writers for Trib Total Media.

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