W.Pa. wrestles with fresh round of snow

| Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, 10:58 p.m.

Western Pennsylvania should get a breather on Sunday from more snow but no reprieve on New Year's Eve.

The Pittsburgh region can expect up to 2 more inches starting late Monday, weather forecasters said on Saturday.

“Starting around 9 or 10 p.m. Monday and going through to about 5 a.m. Tuesday, we should see 1 to 2 inches of snow,” said John Darnley, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Moon.

“That means, of course, the snow will fall right when people are leaving their (New Year's Eve) festivities,” Darnley said.

Since Wednesday, 8 to 10 inches of snow has accumulated in the region, according to the weather service.

A higher-than-expected accumulation of roughly 4 inches fell overnight Friday into Saturday morning. The weather service forecast closer to 3 inches, but a cold front from the Northwest stuck around longer than expected, Darnley said.

“It lingered over us longer than expected, so it was like a snow-making machine,” he said.

Pittsburgh got nearly 4 inches of snow, with 5 12 inches in Mt. Washington, the weather service reported. Greensburg also got 5 12 inches of snow.

Hardest-hit were Washington and McMurray, which each received 7 inches. Portions of West Virginia, as well as parts of Venango County, reported getting about 7 inches.

Rob Kaczorowski, director of Pittsburgh's Public Works department, said plow crews were “well within” the 24-hour time frame during which all city streets should be cleared of snow.

“Everything went excellently — we've got all the main roads done and are focusing on hitting the secondary and tertiary roads,” Kaczorowski said at about 6 p.m. Saturday. “When those are done, we'll go back and start cleaning up what's left on the main roads.”

The snowfall prompted Pennsylvania Turnpike officials to lower the speed limit to 45 mph on the heavily traveled roadway from the Ohio line east to Lancaster and Berks counties for several hours.

UPMC hospitals on Saturday treated one person injured in a snow-blower accident and one person who suffered an apparent heart attack while shoveling snow, said spokeswoman Stephanie Stanley. Both people were Pittsburgh-area residents, but she had no further details.

Overall, UPMC hospitals treated roughly two dozen people injured in falls on slippery patches or injuries from minor car accidents over Friday and Saturday, Stanley said.

West Penn Allegheny Health System, the region's second-largest health care provider, experienced “nothing out of the ordinary, just a regular winter day for us” on Saturday, said spokesman Dan Laurent.

Weather did not disrupt operations at Pittsburgh International Airport on Friday or Saturday, said JoAnn Jenny, spokeswoman for the Allegheny County Airport Authority.

“The airport has been open all day long,” Jenny said. “The weather has not been a problem for us.”

FlightStats Inc., which tracks commercial air traffic, said only five of 128 departures from Pittsburgh International were canceled on Saturday for one reason or another; and 14 flights were delayed 45 minutes or more.

Five people were injured about noon on Saturday in an accident on Route 201 in Perry, Fayette County, that may have occurred because of snowy conditions, according to a county 911 dispatcher.

Two of those injured went by ambulance to Pittsburgh-area hospitals. The remaining three went to Uniontown or Highland hospitals, the spokeswoman said.

Emergency responders around Western Pennsylvania reported no other serious snow-related accidents. Officials in several counties said some emergency vehicles took a bit longer than usual to reach their destinations.

Staff writer Tony LaRussa contributed to this report. Thomas Olson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached a 412-320-7854 or tolson@tribweb.com.

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