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Clearing snow: A dubious effort

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Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, 9:03 p.m.

Up to 3 inches of snow is expected in the Pittsburgh region late Friday through Saturday. And if the general response to this snowfall is anything like the response to Wednesday's 4.9-inch snowfall, motorists are in for a very long and frustrating winter, particularly in the City of Pittsburgh.

We've heard all manner of excuses and rationalizations from various agencies:

Some claimed the mid-morning storm hit too fast. But it was predicted well in advance.

Others lamented that heavy traffic made it difficult to clear the roads. But, being the day after Christmas, it was a relatively light travel day, even with folks returning or exchanging gifts and looking for sales deals.

And still others called it a “tricky storm,” what with its freezing rain, then a quick snow dump. But the National Weather Service called it “nothing out of the ordinary, pretty much a standard storm.”

Still, many streets — particularly in Pittsburgh — remained untouched, and not just secondary streets, as those who actually did work began their treks home late in the day. And many streets remained a mess on Thursday.

Yes, it's winter. Yes, it's Pittsburgh. And it often snows in the winter in Pittsburgh. Which is all the more reason that city road crews (and those elsewhere) should be better versed in doing their jobs.

No one expects instantaneous snow removal. But most expect better — much better — than what transpired with the season's first significant snowfall.

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