Warming begins, but Pittsburgh Public Schools, some others, close for the day

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A warming trend began overnight as temperatures started a slow rise across frigid southwestern Pennsylvania, but the cold continues to cause school delays and closures around the region.

About 5 a.m., the Pittsburgh Public Schools announced the district would be closed for the day. It previously had been operating on a 2-hour delay.

A long list of school districts also were on a delayed or modified schedule, partly because of the adverse effect of the cold on the diesel fuel in their fleet of school buses. Visit the website of KDKA-TV for a complete list of affected schools.

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority spokeswoman Melissa Rubin said crews are assessing reported breaks of 6-inch mains in the Hill District, Stanton Heights and the Southside Slopes. It wasn't known yet if they were causing service outages.

Peters Township School District announced on its website that it would close today because of a severe water main break there.

In Mt. Lebanon, police on Tuesday night closed Beverly Road southbound between Newburn Drive and McFarland Road because of ice resulting from a break.

Sixty to 70 customers, both residential and some businesses, are without water while crews make repairs, Pennsylvania-American Water Co. spokeswoman Josephine Posti said. Service is expected to be restored by noon.

KDKA-TV reported that a water main broke just after 3 a.m. in the 300 block of Fourth Avenue near Wood Street. Water sprayed high into the air and covered the street and sidewalk with ice, the station reported.The intersection reopened around 5 a.m.

Nearly all counties in Western Pennsylvania were under a wind chill advisory until 9 a.m. with figures reaching below zero. Air temperatures in Pittsburgh and nearby suburbs were in the single digits. The 5 a.m. reading at Pittsburgh International Airport was 4 degrees.

Energy producers and transmission operators are asking the public to continue voluntary energy conservation through this morning, as the extreme cold weather is increasing the demand for power.

For the latest weather advisories, visit the website of the National Weather Service. The updated forecast and current conditions are available on the Post-Gazette's weather page.

First Published January 8, 2014 5:45 AM

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