PITTSBURGH — This massive, complex weather system pushing through western Pennsylvania is dropping rain, ice and snow.
A WINTER STORM WARNING is in effect for parts of western Pennsylvania, including Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington, Lawrence, Mercer, Greene and Venango counties from 1 a.m. Thursday through 10 a.m. Friday.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is in effect for Armstrong, Fayette, Indiana and Westmoreland counties from 7 a.m. Thursday until 10 a.m. Friday.
A FLOOD WARNING is in effect for Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Washington and Westmoreland counties until 7 a.m. Friday.
BE SURE TO DOWNLOAD THE FREE SEVERE WEATHER TEAM 11 APP TO STAY AHEAD OF THIS POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS SYSTEM.
UPDATE 3:25 a.m.: Here’s a look at snow falling in Beaver.
UPDATE 2:55 a.m.: It’s icy along I-79 at the Washington-Allegheny county line. The ice is coating surfaces.
UPDATE 2:25 a.m.: Sleet and freezing rain are still falling in many areas.
UPDATE 2:15 a.m.: Channel 11′s Alyssa Raymond says she can see and hear the transition from rain to an icy mix on I-79 near Southpointe in Washington County.
UPDATE 2:04 a.m.: The wintry mix and snow lines continue to slowly move east. Roads are slick where you have snow or a mix right now. Everyone will be snow by dawn.
UPDATE 11:00 p.m.: Channel 11′s crew in Butler County reports conditions in Cranberry are significantly worse than in the City of Butler. Roads are covered with snow and ice. Freezing rain is still falling. It is becoming difficult stop at traffic lights and stop signs. Many drivers have their hazard lights on.
UPDATE 10:21 p.m.: State Route 2013 in Buffington and East Wheatfield Township is closed in both directions due to flooding.
PennDOT officials said the Indiana County road is between the intersections of Mack Drive and Plowman Road. It is estimated to stay closed until 10 a.m. Friday.
UPDATE 10:00 p.m.: Thousands of people across the region are dealing with power outages. In Washington County alone, there are more than 6,000 customers without power.
READ MORE: Thousands without power throughout the region as snow, ice move in
UPDATE 9:00 p.m.: Rain continues falling in areas of Pittsburgh and to the south and east. Channel 11′s crew in Beechview reports drivers not having any issues and the T is still running.
Another Channel 11 crew in Washington County is reporting steady rain continuing to fall.
Meanwhile, areas to the north and west are seeing some major ice accumulations. All of that is still predicted to move through the entire area, eventually changing over to snow for the morning commute on Friday.
UPDATE 8:00 p.m.: The ice has arrived in Center Township, Beaver County.
UPDATE 7:30 p.m.: Officials in Beaver County report they’re getting numerous phone calls for trees and wires down due to the ice and snow.
UPDATE 7:00 p.m.: Here are the latest power outages around the area:
Duquesne Light: 209 customers affected
West Penn Power (First Energy): 620 customers affected
UPDATE 6:30 p.m.: The Beaver Valley Mall closed its doors early to make sure all staff and customers could get home before the roads turned to ice.
The big focus for county officials was the bridges and overpasses. As soon as the rain turned to ice, crews were mobilized to start laying down salt and aggregate.
UPDATE 6:00 p.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Advisory for part of the region. This includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Indiana, Washington and Westmoreland counties. Officials said minor flooding is occurring in low lying areas.
Specific areas impacted include Pittsburgh, Penn Hills, Mount Lebanon, Bethel Park, Ross Township, McCandless Township, Monroeville, Cranberry, Moon Twp., McMurray, McKeesport, Indiana, Butler, Washington, Franklin Park, Jeannette, Aliquippa and Canonsburg.
UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: FedEx Express is dealing with service disruptions across the eastern third of the United States due to this massive storm system.
Hubs in Memphis and Indianapolis experienced freezing rain and snow, leading to hazardous operating conditions. If you were expecting a package Thursday, it will likely be delayed, especially as the snow and ice move into western Pennsylvania.
UPDATE 5:00 p.m.: In Westmoreland County, roads remain wet in the area of the Route 30 and 66 interchange in the Hempfield area.
UPDATE 4:45 p.m.: PennDOT has implemented Tier 4 restrictions on all major highways in the Pittsburgh area. Tier 4 means no commercial vehicles, school buses, commercial buses, motor coaches, motorcycles, RVs, and passenger vehicles towing trailers are not allowed.
Speed limits have also been dropped to 45 mph.
- Interstate 79
- Interstate 376 (between Business Loop 376 Exit 57 and the PA Turnpike in Monroeville)
- Interstate 279 (Parkway North)
- Interstate 579
- Route 28
UPDATE 4:30 p.m.: PennDOT officials report a portion of Route 48 (Long Run Road) in White Oak is closed due to flooding. The road is closed at the intersection of Cool Springs Road.
UPDATE 4:15 p.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a FLOOD WARNING for portions of the region as reports indicate many creeks and streams are nearing their banks, and water is rising in many low-lying spots. Areas that may see flooding include Morgantown, Wheeling, Greensburg, Fairmont, Washington, Uniontown, Jeannette, Latrobe, Connellsville, Waynesburg and others. This is in effect until 7 a.m. Friday.
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UPDATE 4:00 p.m.: Here are the latest power outages from Duquesne Light and West Penn Power:
Duquesne Light customers affected: 266 (all of them in Plum 15239 zip code)
West Penn Power: 82 in Allegheny County, 18 in Armstrong County, 286 in Westmoreland County
UPDATE 3:45 p.m.: PennDOT officials in Butler told Channel 11 they will launch crews to start treating roads and highways once the rain slows down. They’ll continue to monitor the roads as they expect freezing rain, sleet and eventually accumulating snow.
Officials said their stockpiles of salt are full.
Crews in Butler County will be working 12 hour shifts around the clock until the storm has passed.
UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: The Mall at Robinson, South Hills Village and Ross Park Mall are all closing early Thursday due to the hazardous weather in the region.
UPDATE 3:15 p.m.: Remaining snow and slush on sidewalks and roads is expected to freeze and turn to solid ice as this system continues to move through Thursday evening.
UPDATE 3:00 p.m.: The Home Depot store in East Liberty is down its last few snow shovels for the rest of the season until a new shipment can come in. As far as ice melt, there are plenty of bags in stock.
UPDATE 2:45 p.m.: Rain is also falling steadily in the Greensburg area. Things have not yet iced up there.
Road crews in that area say they’re ready to start treating the roads as soon as the rain moves out. Until then, there’s not much they can do without the salt and brine washing away.
UPDATE 2:30 p.m.: In parts of the Pittsburgh metro area, heavy rain continues falling.
UPDATE 2:10 p.m.: Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas and Magisterial District courts will be closed for the rest of the day. Arraignment court will remain open.
UPDATE 2:00 p.m.: The Mon Wharf will be closed starting tomorrow until further notice because of flooding concerns.
UPDATE 1:45 p.m.: Channel 11′s Mike Holden just asked Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey about how the city is preparing for this major winter storm. Here’s what he had to say.
UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: What’s it look like in your area? Is it snowing? Ice? We want to see! Upload your photos and videos here:
UPDATE 1:15 p.m.: The National Weather Service office in Moon Township is already seeing ice build up on the bushes.
UPDATE 1:00 p.m.: PennDOT just announced that they are restricting certain vehicle on several roadways in the Pittsburgh area.
Vehicle restrictions reflect Tier 1 of the commonwealth’s weather event vehicle restriction plan, and are in effect on the following roadways:
· Interstates 79, 376 (Parkways East and West), 279 (Parkway North), and 579
· Route 28
· Interstate 376 (Beaver Valley Expressway)
· Interstates 79 and 376
Under Tier 1 restrictions, the following vehicles are not permitted on affected roadways:
· Tractors without trailers;
· Tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded enclosed trailers, open trailers or tank trailers;
· Tractors towing unloaded or lightly loaded tandem trailers;
· Enclosed cargo delivery trucks that meet the definition of a CMV;
· Passenger vehicles (cars, SUV’s, pickup trucks, etc.) towing trailers;
· Recreational vehicles/motorhomes;
· School buses, commercial buses and motor coaches; and
You can view a full list of travel restrictions HERE.
FORECAST NOTES AND STORM TIMELINE:
Wrap up your errands early today. Rain has overtaken much of the area, and that rain will slowly change to a wintry mix and then snow from northwest to southeast across the area.
Rain could lead to localized flooding due to the snowpack and recent runoff. A Flood Watch is in effect for Washington, Greene, western Fayette, Monongalia, Preston and Garrett counties until 1 a.m. Friday.
Icy conditions will be likely northwest of Allegheny County during the day Thursday as a wintry mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow pushes into the area from the northwest.
Travel will be dangerous Thursday night and Friday morning as much of the area transitions to a mix of freezing rain and sleet before changing to snow.
>>WATCH: Trisha’s Traffic Hacks: Driving, stopping in winter weather
A couple of inches of snow will accumulate on top of the ice by Friday morning.
Power outages could be a problem for much of the area.
>>RELATED STORY: Road crews getting ready for messy winter storm targeting western Pennsylvania
Here’s a full breakdown of the expected timeline.
-Dangerous travel late Thursday, Thursday night and Friday to icing and snow. Power outages likely.
-1″+ rainfall through Thursday could lead to flooding issues due to the snowpack (not FLASH flooding but urban flooding)
-Transition from rain to freezing rain/sleet Thursday will make travel dangerous and create power outages (especially late in the day and night)
-Wintry mix changing to snow Thursday night will create a skating rink under a few inches of snow
-Heavy accumulation of snow will be possible in our northwestern communities (6″+ by Friday morning)
-Pittsburgh could have 2″-4″ of snow by mid-morning Friday on top of anything iced over
>>RELATED STORY: Here are 7 winter driving tips
The details of how this storm develops are still coming into focus, so check out the live Severe Weather Team 11 forecast updates on Channel 11 often.
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