Winter storm warning in effect for Pittsburgh area

Mix of precipitation forecast today; as much as 8 inches of snow possible

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Heavy snow, ice and sleet are expected to make this year's post-Christmas travel a little more dangerous than most.

Meteorologists from the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for most of Western Pennsylvania, saying they expect as much as 8 inches of snow to fall near Pittsburgh between today and Thursday morning and as much as 10 inches of snow along the Interstate 80 corridor.

Less snow and more ice is expected south of Allegheny County, with forecasters calling for 2 to 4 inches of snow near Washington, Pa., and an inch or 2 of snow tumbling near Morgantown, W.Va.

"It could start off as snow showers in the morning," said Rihaan Gangat, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "By daybreak, 7 or 8, the snow will increase. Around 12 or 1 o'clock, we should see the heavier amounts of snow come in."

In some places, he said, people could see an inch or more of snow fall in an hour, while the temperatures hover in the lower 30s.

The storm, which formed tornadoes in the Deep South and prompted blizzard warnings in the Midwest, could cause one-tenth to one-quarter inch of ice to form in some places, especially in the valleys in West Virginia.

"Definitely, the winter storm warning means that snow, sleet or ice can make roads hazardous, or in some places impassable," Mr. Gangat said.

Forecasters expect visibility will be reduced to a quarter-mile or less during the times when the snow fall is the heaviest.

"We urge drivers to either stay out of it or travel the next day," Mr. Gangat said.

He also warned that heavy ice accumulation can cause tree limbs and power lines to tumble, causing some people to lose power.

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Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1438, or Twitter: @LizNavratil.


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