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Public Urged To Stay Inside, Conserve Energy During Deep Freeze

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Shuttering the schools is almost a no-brainer when the roads are too snowy.
But when it comes to temperature, it's more of a judgment call.

"We look for wind chill of about 10 below zero," said West Jefferson Hills Superintendent Dr. Michael Panza. "At that point, we know that it's pretty dangerous for children and we don't want them out at that time."

Panza says he doesn't take the decision lightly, because of safety and the impact on families.
"By the time it's over, we're affecting the daily life of over 5,000 people," he said.

Already, like many schools in our area, West Jefferson Hills, the home of Thomas Jefferson High School, has cancelled class twice and delayed four times. Numbers Panza says don't impact the next decision he has to make.

"At the end of the day, it's all about student safety," he said.

And speaking of the end of the day, the people who make sure you have electricity to keep that furnace blower going are a bit concerned.

Duquesne Light says the group that oversees power distribution for Pennsylvania and 12 other states is calling for voluntary conservation during the peak hours tomorrow, 5 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.

Officials also warn that even though the sun is shining, doesn't mean it's safe to be outside either.

"Please don't go shoveling your driveway tonight when it's a 20 below wind chill factor," said Dr. Kit Dooley with Jefferson Regional Medical Center. "These are very bad mistakes people get into."

Dooley says the wind chills expected tonight don't take long to do damage.

"If you are just an everyday Joe, you have to take precautions, extra layers," he said. "Skin exposure is always a problem and can turn into frost bite in a really short period of time."

More Weather
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