Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Winter Storm Hits Region First Accumulation of Snow Arrives on First Day of Season

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Winter Storm Hits Region First Accumulation of Snow Arrives on First Day of Season

Article excerpt

Driving snow and gusty winds buffeted southwest Pennsylvania Friday as many residents left work and school to begin holiday vacations during the first official hours of winter.

Snowfall had reached just 0.7 inch at the National Weather Service's offices at the Pittsburgh International Airport by 9 p.m., with a total of 1 inch or so expected by this morning. Areas such as the Laurel Highlands and other upper elevations, however, had received 2 inches as of Friday evening and areas such as Washington, Pa., received 3 inches, according to the service.

But with snowfall tapering off overnight and higher temperatures expected Sunday and early next week, hopes for a white Christmas depend largely on holding on to what you've got, said meteorologist Brad Rehak.

"With a little bit of sunshine and temperatures in the upper 30s, if you get 3 or 4 inches, there could be some snow left, but if you get an inch or two it will probably be gone," Mr. Rehak said.

Today's high is expected to reach 33 degrees, but highs on Sunday and Monday are expected to hit 39 degrees, and the high on Tuesday, Christmas Day, is expected to reach 37 degrees, according to the weather service. There is a 20 percent chance of rain or snow Monday, a 50 percent chance Monday night and a 40 percent chance on Christmas.

In a typical December, Mr. Rehak said, the region would have received about 5 inches of snow by this point in the month. Friday's snowfall was the first accumulation of the month.

Roadways covered with quickly melting snow helped tangle traffic around Pittsburgh as early as midday in some places Friday, as many people left work and school early to get a jump on holiday travel. But the region largely escaped the complications brought on by more serious winter weather in the Midwest, where a blizzard dumped more than a foot of snow on many areas, canceling flights, stranding travelers and causing several accidents. …

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