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Road Crews Monitor Overnight Weather Conditions As Temperatures Drop, Winter Mix Falls

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Road crews are monitoring conditions overnight, ready to treat roads after a day that seemed to have a little of everything winter has to offer.

From freezing rain to snow, the Pittsburgh region dealt with some slick roads on Thursday.

By Thursday evening, most of the area was just dealing with rain, but then as 11 p.m. approached, temperatures dropped, switching over to a sleet-snow mix.

Joe Palumbo from PennDOT says crews are loaded with material and monitoring the roads for any signs of ice. He says treating them too early will mean the salt just gets washed away.

PennDOT is operating on 12 hour shifts, and there are full crews ready to make Friday morning's rush as easy as possible.

KDKA's John Shumway Reports:

Thursday brought us a storm with a multitude of personalities.

"It's been a mixture of ice and snow and sleet and just rain," said Angelo Pampena, of PennDOT.

It might have started as rain, but that rain fell on icy cold surfaces.

"It might be 34 right now, but anytime the water hits the block or the concrete, it tends to freeze up," said Mike Gable, the director of Pittsburgh Public Works.

That is why Pittsburgh Police closed steep Wyoming Street on Mount Washington Thursday morning when the bricks glazed solid and made it impossible for vehicles to travel and treacherous for police on foot.

"Right now, we're dealing with our high elevations, our brick and block stone, concrete streets, and obviously, our bridge decks," said Gable.

Walking was not for the faint of heart.

"It's very slippery. I'm probably not dressed for it. I have heels on, but the sidewalks are very slippery and treacherous. You better take your time or you will skate across the walks," said Rosina Campbell, of Plum.

Despite crews being on the attack from the time the rain started falling, the initial wave of salt flowed away with the rain in some cases.

"We may treat the road and it may wash off, and by the time we get back to it, it may freeze again," said Pampena.

That appears to be what happened on Route 8 in Shaler Township Thursday morning, causing a number of accidents on what amounted to black ice.

Four-car accident on Route 8 in Shaler. (Photo Credit: Rob Hopson/KDKA)

Then came the snow, flakes the size of half dollars covering and coating everything in their path. But it was over in a matter of minutes, leaving road crews to wait for the next wave tonight with a countdown to Friday morning's rush hour.

"It looks like we're going to have an opportunity to have everything treated before the rush hour," said Pampena.

According to KDKA-TV Meteorologist Dennis Bowman, the rain goes back to a mix tonight and then snow with less than 1 inch in the southwestern Pennsylvania area. Check here for the latest weather updates and advisories.

A total of 1-3 inches will fall near Interstate 80 and as much as 2-4 inches in the ridges to our east. The low will be near 22 degrees overnight.

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