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The Pittsburgh region can expect a severe winter storm at least once every winter season. These types of winter storms (ice or wet, heavy and sticky snow) can grind the whole city to a halt shutting down transportation systems, and placing demands on the power systems. During these types of storms accidents rise among those who try to drive, and can trap people at home or work.


Stay Informed. Listen to the radio or television for latest weather information.

Winter Storm Watches and Warnings

A winter storm watch indicates that severe winter weather may affect your area. A winter storm warning indicates that severe winter weather conditions are definitely on the way or have already begun.

A blizzard warning means that large amounts of falling or blowing snow and sustained winds of at least 35 miles per hour are expected for several hours.


  • Stay safe, warm, dry and calm.
  • Do not drive unnecessarily. Of deaths related to ice and snow, 70 percent occur when people are stranded in cars or involved in accidents. If you must drive, bring necessary supplies.
  • Dress warmly enough to prevent frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Do not go outside if you don't have to.

In a Car or Truck

  • In extreme cold or in heavy snow, stay with your car until you can be rescued.
  • Run the motor about ten minutes each hour for heat.
  • Open the window a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked, which would cause dangerous fumes to backup inside the car.
  • Make yourself visible to rescuers. Tie a bright cloth to you antenna or door to alert rescuers.
  • Turn on your dome light, at night, when running the engine.
  • Raise the hood indicating trouble after snow stops falling.
  • Exercise from time to time by vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.

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