Hazardous sub-zero wind chills to cripple Pittsburgh region through early Friday | TribLIVE.com
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Hazardous sub-zero wind chills to cripple Pittsburgh region through early Friday

Jeff Himler
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Southwestern Pennsylvania residents who have to venture outside Wednesday or Thursday will need to bundle up to protect against bitter cold and strong winds that can quickly lead to frost bite on exposed skin.

Wind chills dipping as low as minus 20 degrees are expected between 5 a.m. Wednesday and 5 p.m. Thursday, according to the National Weather Service, which has issued a wind chill advisory for Allegheny, Westmoreland, Fayette, Greene and Washington counties.

A hat and gloves are a must for those going outdoors, as exposed skin could be subject to frost bite in as little as 30 minutes, according to the weather service. Hypothermia also could occur without proper protection from the elements.

School closings

Most of the region’s colleges and universities canceled classes Wednesday.

Schools cancelling both day and evening classes for Wednesday include the University of Pittsburgh , Carnegie Mellon, Chatham, Robert Morris, Slippery Rock, LaRoche College, Westmoreland County Community College, Community College of Allegheny County, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Duquesne University and California University of Pennsylvania announced classes at their campuses would be canceled Wednesday and Thursday.

Most area school districts also closed for the day. A complete list of school and business closings can be found at Tribune-Review news partner WPXI’s website.

Around Pittsburgh

The weather service is predicting air temperature will drop to around minus 1 degree by midnight Wednesday and fall to 3 below zero early Thursday. Wind chills will fall throughout the day Wednesday, reaching minus 12 around 8 a.m. and a low of minus 19 from 5 p.m. through 5 a.m. Thursday.

The high Thursday is expected to reach 10 degrees around 5 p.m. Wind chills could rise above zero around 10 p.m. Thursday, the weather service reports.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Kim Clark ordered the courts closed on Wednesday because of the cold. The District Attorney’s Office will also be closed. Anyone scheduled to appear will be notified by the DA’s office.

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium will be closed Wednesday through Friday. It will reopen on Saturday. Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park Ice Rink will be closed Wednesday and Thursday, as will the North Park and South Park ice rinks. Boyce Park is closed.

The city recycling center in North Point Breeze will be closed Wednesday. City officials said garbage collection could be delayed until the weekend if temperatures are unsafe for workers.

Around Greensburg

Predictions show wind chills will drop below zero by 5 a.m. and remain so for the next two days. They are expected to reach 20 below between 8 p.m. Wednesday and 5 a.m. Thursday, though they are expected to reach minus 10 around 8 a.m. and continue to worsen throughout the day as single-digit air temperatures continue to fall.

A high of 13 de­grees around 2 a.m. Wednesday is expected to plummet to minus 2 degrees by midnight and fall to 3 below early Thursday. The high Thursday is Greensburg is expected to reach 9 degrees, according to the weather service.

Around Tarentum

Wind chills are expected to fluctuate between minus 18 and minus 20 degrees from 2 p.m. Wednesday until 8 a.m. Thursday, according to the weather service. A high Wednesday of about 11 degrees around 2 a.m. will drop steadily throughout the day until reaching 4 below early Thursday morning. The high Thursday should reach 8 degrees around 2 p.m. Wind chills are not expected to rise above zero all day Wednesday until around 10 p.m. Thursday, the weather service forecasts.

Other areas

A prediction of more severe conditions has prompted a wind chill warning for other nearby areas, including Armstrong County and the ridges of Westmoreland and Fayette counties. The warning of temperatures as low as minus 30 is in effect from 1 a.m. Wednesday through 11 a.m. Friday in Armstrong and from 5 a.m. Wednesday through 11 p.m. Thursday in the ridges.

Prolonged exposure in those conditions is potentially deadly, according to the weather service.

Looking at actual temperatures, the mercury is expected to hit a low of between zero and 3 below during this Pittsburgh region cold snap, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Myranda Fullerton. The lowest temperature on record in the area is minus 22, reached Jan. 19, 1994.

A previously issued winter weather advisory for the five counties in Pennsylvania’s southwestern corner has been canceled.

The weather service is calling for a 40 percent chance of snow after midnight Tuesday and Thursday night, with a 50 percent chance of snow Friday and temperatures rising into the low 20s for the Pittsburgh region. Little or no accumulation is expected Wednesday. Temperatures are expected to hit the 40s on Sunday.

Some area schools and organizations have started to announce cancellations and delays for Wednesday.


Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review
staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter @jhimler_news.


Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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