Watch CBS News

School Officials, Road Crews & First Responders Preparing For Arctic Blast

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- It's January, it's winter, it's western Pennsylvania, and so it's no surprise that those two four letter words – S-N-O-W and C-O-L-D - are in the forecast with a potential for frostbite.

"When it's this cold, I think it's better to stay inside when you can and go out if you absolutely have to," said Dr. James Masterson, of the Excela Health System.

Little fingers and toes can be especially vulnerable to frostbite in just minutes of exposure.

School superintendents in Westmoreland County will be up Friday before dawn gaging whether it's too cold to have children waiting at bus stops.

Temperatures at zero or 15 below will likely mean delayed or canceled classes.

The Westmoreland County 911 center is ready, but everybody should be prepared.

"Be prepared to be self-sufficient for 72 hours, so that should you have a problem and the emergency responders can't get to you for whatever reason, that you're prepared," said Sandy Smythe, of Westmoreland County 911.

North Huntingdon EMS just got an inflatable shelter that's warmed by a propane-powered forced air heater to protect first responders from plunging temperatures.

"The risk of hypothermia or frostbite is pretty significant, so this is one of the things that we can do pretty quickly," Shane Spielvogel, of North Huntingdon EMS.

Also, PennDOT's District 12 and local public works trucks are gearing up for what may be a wicked night when it comes to wind, drifting snow and poor visibility.

"Additionally, the cold temperatures coming later in the storm make it difficult for our melting materials," added Tim Cook, of PennDOT.

More Local News
Latest Conditions
Weather Map
Traffic Alerts
Traffic Cams
Send Us Your Weather Photos
School Closings

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.