Road conditions poor as weather worsens across Pittsburgh region

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Drivers are struggling with snowy, slippery streets, with several vehicles sliding off roadways in Shadyside, the Hill District, Oakland, Millvale and Harrison Township since 2 p.m., according to Allegheny County officials.

Multiple accidents, involving five cars, closed Shady Avenue from Mellon Park Road to Fifth Avenue, with some lanes on Fifth also closed due to icy conditions, at about 4:30 p.m., according to the county.

In the Hill District and Oakland, several accidents have been reported on Kirkpatrick, Terrace and Darragh streets, county officials said. In Millvale, a car crashed into a building in the 300 block of Lincoln Avenue. In Penn Hills, a two-vehicle accident tangled traffic at Meadow and Freda streets, they said.

In Harrison Township, a tractor-trailer truck slid downhill from Springhill and Karns roads and into a hillside, tearing down a utility pole and power lines and causing a leak in the truck's gas tank, county officials said.

No injuries were immediately reported.

The National Weather Service has placed a huge swath of the Northeast and the Ohio Valley, including southwest Pennsylvania, under a winter weather advisory until 7 a.m. Monday.

Part of a massive winter weather system reaching from southern Arkansas to northern Vermont, about an inch of snow -- with another inch or two possible farther north and in higher elevations -- is expected locally by late this afternoon, ending at about 5 p.m., according to the weather service at Pittsburgh. The snow is then expected to turn to a mix of snow and sleet until 8 p.m.

"That could be a problem, but the [Pittsburgh Steelers] game should be over and traffic should be diminishing before that," said John Darnley, a meteorologist with the weather service, based in Moon.

After 8 p.m., precipitation is expected to turn to freezing rain until 2 a.m., followed by rain until Monday morning. Throughout the day and night, an east to southeast wind of approximately 9 to 14 mph, with gusts of about 25 mph, is expected. Today's high will reach 30 degrees, with temperatures rising tonight to about 35 degrees, according to the weather service.

The advisory from the weather service said the wintry mix is likely to cause travel difficulties.

Motorists heading south into West Virginia, Maryland and northern Virginia could find an even bigger mess.

The weather service has issued a winter storm warning for those areas, with 6 inches already fallen and more expected in Maryland's Garret and Tucker counties, followed by a quarter inch of ice this evening. Similar conditions will prevail throughout the rest of the central Appalachian Highlands and the northern Shenandoah Valley. The highest accumulations of ice will be at elevations below 1500 feet, according to the weather service.

Amy McConnell Schaarsmith: First Published December 8, 2013 12:10 PM

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