Snow beats a hasty retreat, except in Laurel Highlands

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Peeks of sunshine replaced snowflakes in the skies over Pittsburgh late this morning, as a storm system that dumped nearly a foot of snow in some places tracked eastward.

A winter storm warning remained in effect until 2 p.m. in Somerset, Bedford and Fulton counties, but warnings to the west were canceled by the National Weather Service. Eight to 12 inches was possible in the higher elevations under the warning.

In the higher eastern elevations of Westmoreland County, the warning was in place until 4 p.m., with an additional 2 to 4 inches possible before then.

Snow brings out shovels, good samaritans

Apart from traffic snarls and potential power outages, today's snowfall was a thing of beauty. Edgewood citizens shoveled snow with a positive attitude. (Video by Nate Guidry; 3/6/2013)

The exit of the winter storm known to some as "Saturn" will usher in much better weather here, with four consecutive sunny or partly sunny days ahead and temperatures gradually rising to the mid-50s, according to the weather service.

Snowfall totals reported this morning included 11.8 inches near the Holiday Park section of Plum, 11.5 inches at Natrona Heights, 8.1 inches in Penn Hills, 7.5 inches in Ross, 6 inches in Fox Chapel and 4 inches in Pittsburgh's Carrick neighborhood and West Mifflin.

Even so, travel problems were few in and around Pittsburgh, as road crews kept most main thoroughfares clear. By noon, much of the snow in Downtown Pittsburgh had melted away.

The Pittsburgh Public Schools, originally operating on a 2-hour delay, were closed for the day. Others were operating on a delayed schedule.

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium was closed but expected to reopen Thursday.

Traffic was lighter than normal on the parkways, despite the Parkway North HOV lanes remaining closed for most of rush hour to allow crews to focus on clearing the mainline. Most Port Authority bus routes were operating nearly on schedule, but others had delays ranging from 15 to 20 minutes, spokesman Jim Ritchie said. Rail and incline service was not disrupted.

The hardest-hit part of Allegheny County was to the northeast, with residents in the New Kensington area reporting that a foot of snow had piled up.

Several fender-benders were reported in the district, but the worst traffic troubles were on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Six crashes had occurred on the turnpike between Irwin and the Ohio line as of 7:45 a.m. Overnight, a tractor-trailer had jackknifed at mile 33.5 eastbound between the Warrendale Toll Plaza and Route 8. A second tractor-trailer had crashed before dawn on the westbound turnpike near the Allegheny Valley exit.

Visit the PG's traffic page for roadway updates.

Some weather-related power outages were being reported, primarily in northeastern Allegheny County. West Penn Power on its interactive websitesaid around 11 a.m. that 361 customers had service interrupted, down from more than 650 customers about 7 a.m. About 260 that were affected in Harmar this morning remain without power.

For a complete list of school closings and delays, visit the website of the PG's news partner, KDKA-TV.

For the latest watches, warnings and advisories, visit the website of the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh.

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First Published March 6, 2013 10:45 AM


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