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Dangerously Cold Temperatures Settle Into Area

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – With temperatures in the single digits and overnight lows expected to dip well below zero, another round of brutally cold weather has settled into our area. It prompted plenty of school closings and delays around the area this morning and more are now pouring in for Friday.

A Wind Chill Advisory remains in effect for much of the area through noon Friday. And while the overnight hours will be bitterly cold, KDKA Chief Meteorologist Jeff Verszyla says conditions on Friday won't be as harsh.

Latest Forecast:

"I do expect as we go through the overnight period the winds are going to diminish. They're not going to be nearly as vigorous as they are," he said. "So, as we head down through tonight, temperatures will bottom out below zero, the wind chill advisory will remain in effect. [Friday], not as harsh in the afternoon with clouds and sunshine. The coldest air will retreat and winds will be fairly light through the afternoon and then milder for the weekend with some mixture of rain and snow showers starting to take shape on Saturday and continuing Saturday night and into the first part of the day on Sunday."

According to KDKA-TV Meteorologist Dennis Bowman, today's record low hit minus-2 degrees, which was set back in 1936 and matched in 1968.

Tonight, we are expected to smash that record with an expected low of minus-9 degrees.

And because of that, Pittsburgh Public Schools have once again cancelled class on Friday.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto says we're in a critical range now.

"It's deadly," he says. "It's a life and death situation."

He's calling on people to check on their elderly neighbors and local officials are checking on the homeless.

"Public Safety is going to the encampments that we know about," said Mayor Peduto. "We're taking them to warming shelters that we have set up… they have no information about how cold it is going to get."

State Farm says one of the biggest source of claims from homeowners when it gets this cold comes from fires.

"That's where people use alternative heat sources - electric blankets, space heaters, candles, any of those things, if they are not closely attended can cause significant damage," said Jennifer Johnsen-Nazareth, of State Farm Insurance.

She's not saying don't use electric blankets or space heaters.

"Certainly, you need to make sure they are in good condition, number one; number two, space heaters make sure there's nothing in its direct path to catch fire," she says.

Temperatures are expected to climb into the double digits later on Friday with a high of just 11 degrees.

The best way to beat the cold temps is to stay inside. However, that's not possible for everyone.

Allegheny County officials have offered some advice for dealing with the dangerously cold temperatures for the next couple of days.

  • Have an emergency kit ready with enough food, water, medicine and other supplies for 72 hours.
  • Sufficient heating fuel in case of outage
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Never use a generator, grill etc. inside.
  • Bring pets inside
  • Check on elderly neighbors

"It's not that the furnace isn't working, it's that if it's an older house, it's not as really well insulated, older windows, all of that can contribute to a downing of the temperature in the place," Mildred Morrison from the Area Agency on Aging said. "When you're a healthy vibrant adult and the temperature is cool, let's say even 65, you can work with it, you throw on a sweater. Try that at 85 with a couple of health conditions going. That could be an invitation, if not to immediate problems, to complications of the health conditions. You want to be in the low 70s at a minimum."

When temperatures are this low, the threat of frostbite and hypothermia increases dramatically.

Your nose, cheeks, earns, fingers and toes are the most vulnerable to frostbite. In these conditions, it can happen in 10-30 minutes.

KDKA's John Shumway Reports:

If you do have to go outside be sure to wear several layers of loose-fitting, light-weight, warm clothes, choose mittens over gloves wear a hat. Wool socks and boots are also recommended.

Temperatures are expected to warm up a bit this weekend, but a mixed bag of precipitations is coming our way.

On Saturday, we can expect about 1-3 inches of snow before it switches to rain at night.

Sunday morning will start with some rain and will switch back to snow.

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