Frightful weather sweeps into area

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The weather outside was frightful Saturday, but most people seemed to decide that the fire was more delightful and stayed off the roads, leading to a reasonably limited number of mishaps.

Police and 911 dispatchers in both Washington and Greene counties said the accidents they dealt with as a result of blowing snow and drifting were mostly minor, with no serious injuries reported.

The round of wind, snow and chill that swept into the area Saturday was the latest salvo in a January that has been more unforgiving than others in recent memory. The snow started falling about 3 a.m. Saturday, and continued steadily until mid-afternoon. Then, more snow arrived about 5 p.m., creating whiteout conditions in some spots. Communities south of Pittsburgh received about four to five inches of snow “as a general average,” according to Mike Kennedy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Moon Township. Some parts of the region received upwards of six inches. However, with the snow blowing and drifting as a result of wind gusting up to 20 mph, “it’s hard to tell.”

“It’s just a hazardous day to be out there,” Kennedy said.

The snow was expected to finally end today by early morning, but, in exchange for a break from the frozen precipitation, the low temperature was expected to hit 1 degree, with wind chills making it feel like minus 15.

Some stores and other businesses, such as Tanger Outlets in South Strabane Township, closed their doors early because of the weather.

Anyone hoping a nasty January will become more pleasant is in for some disappointment. Temperatures will nosedive once again in the early part of the week, with a possible low in the neighborhood of minus 9 Monday, followed a high of 1 degree Tuesday. By Wednesday, the thermometer will rebound to a forecast high of 11 degrees.

Temperatures are not expected to be above 32 degrees for the remainder of the month, Kennedy said.

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