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Pittsburgh officials urge early release of workers to avoid freezing rain

Bob Bauder
| Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, 11:57 a.m.
Freezing rain is expected to coat the Pittsburgh region.
Ben Schmitt | Tribune-Review
Freezing rain is expected to coat the Pittsburgh region.

Pittsburgh officials are asking employers in the city to consider releasing their workers early Friday so they can avoid rush-hour traffic and freezing rain expected to hit the area in the evening.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for the region from 7 p.m. Friday until 10 a.m. Saturday. Temperatures are expected to drop throughout the day with freezing rain moving into Western Pennsylvania from 5 to 7 p.m. and changing to snow overnight. Pittsburgh is expecting 2 to 4 inches of snow, according to Public Works Director Mike Gable.

City officials are advising residents and visitors to stay at home and avoid driving if possible until Saturday.

“We're asking employers to give consideration in letting their employees leave early today,” Gable said Friday morning. “If this were snow we wouldn't be talking about that. Ice, you're asking people to walk down sidewalks, walk down steps, walk on the street. Nothing is good. You're putting everybody's safety in jeopardy. Hunker down, give it up for 15 hours, and we can have a better life on Saturday and Sunday.”

The city is adding Public Works and Public Safety crews through the weekend and for Sunday's Steelers game, including paramedics and emergency medical technicians. Pittsburgh's Operations Chief Guy Costa said Public Works crews would pay particular attention Sunday to streets leading to Heinz Field, where the Steelers play the Jacksonville Jaguars starting at 1 p.m.

“The other thing you have to be careful of Sunday is hypothermia. We're talking highs of 15 degrees,” said Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich. “I know the Steelers fans are used to this, but anyone from out of town it's going to be cold, it's going to be windy, so please dress appropriately.”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312, or on Twitter @bobbauder.

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