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Snow, Sleet, Freezing Rain Create Slick Roads For Morning Commute

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The morning commute has built in challenges, bumper-to-bumper traffic and delays; but Tuesday morning there was freezing rain, sleet and snow, and that changed the entire landscape.

"I was surprised or I would have left a little earlier to get to work," said Leroy Grace, of East Liberty.

That may be how a lot of drivers felt. The rain-snow mix started around 6 a.m., causing fender benders and larger accidents. In McKees Rocks, a car slide down a hill, hit a wall and then smashed into a house. One person was taken to the hospital.

About an inch of snow collected quickly on Downtown streets, forcing early morning workers to slow down and take it easy.

"Cars were going slow, but I was trying to go fast," said Marie Tappe, of Homestead.

"My street was kind of bad. It was really snowy," said Grace. "Even when I was coming down Penn Avenue, it was kind of slippery. When I was going uphill, I was slide back down the hill."

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A Freezing Rain Advisory in effect for Allegheny, Beaver, Washington and Westmoreland counties was cancelled just before noon.

But a Winter Weather Advisory for most northern areas remains in effect through 7 p.m. The counties under the advisory are Armstrong, Butler, Cambria, Clarion, Forest, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset and Venango.

"We saw a little bit of everything as we started off the morning, and we'll continue to see that chance for a wintry mix," said KDKA Meteorologist Ron Smiley. "It's going to be mainly north of Pittsburgh, up into places like Butler County and Lawrence County, which should be very hard hit, and along I-80."

Crews were out early, salting local streets and that made a difference for rush hours drivers. Even on the North Side, city crews tried to make walking easier by salting sidewalks on Cedar Avenue.

"The good news in the Pittsburgh area, over to Westmoreland County, temperatures are a couple of degrees now above the freezing mark, that's why the advisory was allowed to expire," Smiley said.

People who live Downtown say it's important not assume just because they can walk to work, that its always an easy commute.

"We all have our different challenges. The 8 and 9 degree weather, that's kind of the worst of it in a way. You feel like you've scaled Everest by the time you walk a mile," said Wes Oliver, a Downtown resident.

Now, the ice on the roads didn't stick around. In just a few hours, the warmer temperatures began to thaw everything, but don't forget, it's only January.

The weather prompted some schools to change their schedules. Check out the latest delays and closings here.

More good news is that the warm up will continue. Smiley says there will be highs in the 50s on Wednesday and in the 60s on Thursday.

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